Coralville’s Xtream Arena to host 2021 girls’ state wrestling tournament
Iowa’s girls’ wrestling movement has grown to the point that next season’s state tournament will be at a bigger venue.
Coralville’s new Xtream Arena will host the 2021 girls’ state wrestling championships. The two-day tournament, which was been sponsored by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association each of the past two years, is set for Jan. 22-23.
“The new facilities ... are perfect for this event,” IWCOA executive director Bob Murphy said in a release from Think Iowa City.
“We’ll be utilizing both Xtream Arena and the GreenState Family Fieldhouse, both state-of-the-art and first-class facilities for our high school athletes.”
Xtream Arena, the Iowa River Landing’s new 5,100-seat venue, along with the 58,000-square-foot GreenState Family Fieldhouse, is expected to open this fall. It will be the home of Iowa’s volleyball team and possibly a smaller hockey team in the future, according to project leaders.
The girls’ state wrestling tournament is the second known wrestling event booked for the new arena. The Dan Gable Donnybrook, a premier high-school wrestling tournament scheduled for early December, will also be contested at Xtream Arena.
The girls’ championships have been at Waverly-Shell Rock High School the past two seasons. In 2019, the tournament’s first year, 87 girls competed amid nasty winter weather in a one-day event.
This past year, that number grew to 350, pushing the tournament to two days.
The statewide participation in girls’ wrestling has blossomed. This year, 554 girls were registered and eligible to compete, according to Trackwrestling, a massive jump from the 188 from in 2018-19.
Nationally, 21,124 girls wrestled in 2018-19, according to numbers compiled by the National Federation of State High School Associations. That’s up from 6,025 from 2008-09. Iowa’s 554 this year would’ve ranked eighth nationally by a single state a year ago.
“I’m excited to work with Luke, Josh and their team at Think Iowa City,” Eric Whitcome, Waverly-Shell Rock’s head coach, said in a statement. Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa City High and Iowa City West will all be official hosts for next year’s state tournament.
“They know how to put on top notch events like the USAW Olympic Team Trials, 2018 UWW World Cup,” Whitcome’s statement continued, “and next season’s Dan Gable Donnybrook.
“I know our high school girls will receive the red-carpet treatment.”
The Go-Hawks have won each of the past two team titles at the IWCOA girls’ state championships. This past season, they beat out second-place Charles City by 28.5 points. Dubuque Wahlert finished third, followed by Osage and Iowa City West.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
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