Major changes coming to 2022-23 Iowa high school wrestling postseason schedule

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

The 2022-23 Iowa high school wrestling postseason is going to look a tad different than it has in recent years.

Gone are the sectional tournaments, which have been used as the first leg of the Class 2A and Class 1A postseasons. And the state dual championships are no longer going to be held the day before the three-day traditional state tournament.

Those were the highlights from the Iowa High School Athletic Association's recent Board of Control meeting, held Wednesday morning in Boone, where multiple sport advisory recommendations were approved.

"The primary objective was finding a better date for state duals," Lewie Curtis, the IHSAA's wrestling administrator, told the Register. "In doing that, it required other things to change."

In the case of wrestling, many of the recommendations will shake up next year's postseason.

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No more sectional tournaments for Class 2A and Class 1A

Class 2A and 1A will no longer have sectional tournaments, where the top two wrestlers would qualify for districts the following weekend. All three classes will now use district tournaments to determine individual qualifiers for the traditional state tournament.

“Dropping the Class 1A and 2A Sectional tournaments addresses the extremely low numbers in some weight classes leading to incomplete Sectional brackets," IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said in a release.

The IHSAA's Board of Control also voted to expand the traditional state tournament to 24 qualifiers per weight in all three classes. How the district competitions will look in each class remains to be finalized.

Class 3A, for example, will likely stay at eight districts, with the top three finishers all qualifying for the state tournament, Curtis said. But 2A and 1A could potentially expand to 12 district tournaments, where only the top two finishers would qualify.

"We'll hammer all that out and take a recommendation to our board at our June meeting," Curtis said. "It's going to be one of those two, but each class may not be the same."

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With the increase to 24 qualifiers per weight, the IHSAA also made the traditional state tournament a four-day tournament, Feb. 15-18, Wednesday through Saturday. Curtis said the schedule and format both haven't been finalized, either.

"The increase to 24 qualifiers at the State Traditional Tournament will allow more of our wrestlers to experience the excitement of competing at the state level,” Keating's comments continued.

State dual championships are no longer the day before the traditional tournament

By eliminating sectional tournaments, the IHSAA freed up a Saturday on the calendar and plans to fill it with the state dual championships, which Keating said is something Iowa high school wrestling coaches have been "interested in for several years."

The IHSAA announced its postseason schedule for the 2022-23 wrestling season, and plans on the 2023 state duals championships to be held Saturday, Feb. 4, at a location that's yet to be announced.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced earlier this month that the 2023 girls state wrestling tournament will be held at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Feb. 2-3, a Thursday and Friday. Xtream Arena hosted the past two girls state tournaments sponsored by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.

“We are thrilled that the state wrestling tournament will be at Xtream Arena,” Erin Kirtley, the IGHSAU wrestling administrator, said in a release earlier this month. “The Xtream Arena staff have many of the resources we need already in place and have experience hosting this event.”

Curtis said the IHSAA has inquired about Xtream Arena's availability for the Saturday of the state duals championships, but said they will explore all available options.

"That venue makes sense because of the girls event," Curtis said. "But there's also other nice facilities that would like to be considered."

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Other changes for 2022-23 wrestling season

The IHSAA's Board of Control also approved two more changes for the 2022-23 wrestling season and a third recommendation for the 2023-24 season:

  • Regional duals qualifiers, 24 per class, will be determined by the IWCOA Dual Team Rankings
  • A change in the seeding criteria for the traditional state tournament: The additional point for head-to-head wins over fellow state qualifiers has been removed from the seeding point system
  • The National Federation of State High School Associations offered states the option of 12, 13 or 14 weight classes, starting in 2023-24, and the IHSAA opted to stay with 14

Key wrestling dates for 2022-23

  • Oct. 31 — First day of practice for IGHSAU girls wrestling
  • Nov. 14 — First day of practice for IHSAA wrestling
  • Jan. 31-Feb. 1 — IHSAA regional duals
  • Feb. 2-3 — IGHSAU state wrestling championships
  • Feb. 4 — IHSAA state duals championships
  • Feb. 11 — IHSAA district tournaments
  • Feb. 15-18 — IHSAA state championships

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.