IGHSAU announces girls wrestling state-qualifying plans; boys state duals schedule revealed

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

Monday was a big day for those interested in Iowa high school wrestling's upcoming postseason.

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union announced its state-qualifying plans for the 2023 girls wrestling postseason. The Iowa High School Athletic Association also revealed its postseason schedule after announcing the elimination of sectional tournaments and moving the state duals championships this past off-season.

IGHSAU announces girls wrestling super regional sites

The IGHSAU announced that there will be eight regional tournaments, set for Jan. 27, that will serve as the state-qualifying events for the 2022-23 girls wrestling postseason. The top four place-winners at each regional qualify for the 2023 girls state championships, set for Feb. 2-3 at Xtream Arena in Coralville.

The regional competitions will actually be grouped together in what the IGHSAU called super regionals. There will be four super regional sites, and each site will host two separate regional tournaments:

  • Regions 1 and 2 will be held at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.
  • Regions 3 and 4 will be held at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.
  • Regions 5 and 6 will be held at the Alliant Energy Powerhouse in Cedar Rapids.
  • Regions 7 and 8 will be held at Luther College in Decorah.

IHSAA reveals schedule for 2023 state duals championships

The IHSAA revealed the schedule for the 2023 state dual championships, which will run all day on Saturday, Feb. 4, at Xtream Arena. A six-mat format will be used for each round:

  • 9 a.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A quarterfinals (top half of the bracket)
  • 11 a.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A quarterfinals (bottom half of the bracket)
  • 1 p.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A consolation rounds
  • 3 p.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A semifinal rounds
  • 6:30 p.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A fifth- and seventh-place duals
  • 8:30 p.m.: Class 1A, 2A, 3A championship and third-place duals

The top eight teams in all three classes will qualify for the state dual championships via regional competitions. All regional competitions are set for a 6 p.m. start on Jan. 31, 2023.

Regional sites will be determined using the early-January dual team rankings from the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, with 8 of the top 16 teams hosting, if possible and within practical geographic areas.

24 individual qualifiers for 2023 boys state championships

The IHSAA previously announced that all sectional competitions have been eliminated from the boys wrestling postseason schedule starting this season. All three classes will instead wrestle district tournaments as the state-qualifying event. All district tournaments will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023.

The IHSAA also previously announced that the number of participants for the traditional state wrestling championships has increased from 16 wrestlers per weight class to 24. The 2023 boys state wrestling championships is now a four-day event, set for Feb. 15-18 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The elimination of sectional competitions and the increase in state tournament qualifiers forced the IHSAA to change the Class 1A and 2A district tournaments. There will be 12 total district tournaments in both Class 1A and 2A, with the top two place-winners from each weight qualifying for the traditional state tournament.

Class 3A will remain at eight total district tournaments, and the top-three place-winners will advance to the traditional state tournament.

Boys soccer moving to four classes

The IHSAA also announced Monday that boys soccer will increase to four classes, starting in 2023. It is now the fifth sport to have four classifications, joining cross country, basketball, track and field, and baseball. Football has been at seven classifications after the addition of Class 5A ahead of the 2021 season.

"With the growth of soccer, particularly in our smaller schools, adding an additional class will reduce the disparity in enrollment in each class, providing for a more competitive season and state tournament series," IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said in a release.

"We anticipate the additional class will encourage even more schools to join one of our fastest-growing sports."

For soccer, the state's largest 36 schools will make up Class 4A. The next 40 will be in Class 3A. The 48 after that will be in Class 2A. All remaining schools will make up Class 1A.

"The action taken by our board supports the similar approval of an additional class of football two years ago," IHSAA assistant director and soccer administrator Todd Tharp said in a release.

"This can encourage more schools to support the sport, add excitement to the game for student-athletes and their communities, and acknowledges the work done by our members to consistently grow a sport that requires great student-athlete buy-in, with 11 players on the field and even more on the sidelines to build these programs."

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