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WV guidance for wrestling issued

The 2020-2021 high school wrestling season is nearing its start on both sides of the Ohio River. Ohio begins practice November 13 with West Virginia starting three days later. The first match in the Mountain State can be held on Dec. 2, with the Buckeye State one day behind.

COVID-19 has already taken its toll with cancellation of the 30th annual Wheeling Park Duals, held at WesBanco Arena, due to the global pandemic. Wheeling Park athletic director Dwaine Rodgers said the Ohio County school mailed out notices to the schools involved earlier in the week.

“We were basically waiting on the (SSACs) modifications. There’s no way possible for us to pull off our tournament with 42 teams,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s not really a surprise, but we were just awaiting official word.”

He said dates for the 2021 event have been secured. It will be held in December between Christmas and New Years.

It was previously announced that the Ohio Dual Team Tournament has been canceled for this season.

The Secondary Schools Activities Commission released its list of modification for the upcoming season earlier ion the week. Some are basic common knowledge while others will change the landscape of the sport for this winter.

The biggest mandate is only 56 participants allowed for competition in duals, tris and quads. If an extra school is added to complete the field of 56 participants, there is to be no preliminary wrestling.

“I’m glad we got them when we did so that we can change some things on our schedule,” Wheeling Park head coach Brian Leggett said of the SSAC modifications.

“It’s a bummer that we can’t wrestle in any big tournaments, but we’ve been calling other coaches in trying to get as many tris and quads that we can. We were going to be a tournament-driven team.

“We’ve got a good nucleus of returning state placers mixed in with another good crop of freshmen,” Leggett added.

For middle school, the maximum number of participates is 60.

There is a limit of two weigh-ins per week and be there must be two days in between weigh-ins and only one scrimmage is allowed against one other school for a dual only.

Modifications for facilities and competition (Follow CDC guidelines for sanitizing and disinfecting).

∫ All regular season weigh-ins will be conducted at each respective school prior to leaving for the event. — A verification form must be signed by a school administrator

∫ Have hand sanitizer and wipes available at the table and mat side;

∫ Disinfect the mats prior to competition and clean frequently;

∫ Athletes, coaches, and everyone floor level wears a face covering;

∫ Arrange bench/team area to allow for social distancing;

∫ No shared water containers. Each wrestler should have individual water.

Modifications for coaches :

∫ Wear a face covering on and off the mat. Eliminate post-match handshakes.

Modifications for wrestlers:

∫ A shower or wipe down is required after each match;

∫ Change uniforms as often as possible;

∫ Face covering is required when not competing;

∫ Eliminate handshakes with officials and or coaches pre- and post-match;

∫ Do not share equipment or any personal items;

Modifications for officials:

∫ Bring personal hand sanitizer and water. Wash hands frequently;

∫ Do not share equipment/switch out whistles often;

∫ Maintain six feet minimum distance when dealing with other officials, athletes and coaches;

∫ Eliminate handshakes. Identify the winner of the match without contact;

∫ Must always wear a face covering when off the mat;

∫ Face covering is optional on the mat. (Must be black);

Modifications for practice:

∫ Ask COVID screening questions every day. Anyone not feeling well for any reason should not participate and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

∫ COVID screening questions should be posted on the wrestling room door and or wall.

∫ Disinfect and clean mats and entire facility frequently.

∫Wrestlers should be designated into pods of 4 or less for all activities.

∫ Dress in smaller groups or by pods.

∫ Use hand sanitizer and wipes frequently/showers after practice are strongly recommended.

∫ Use only individual water containers;

∫ Practice gear should be cleaned daily.

With West Virginia limiting the maximum number of participants to 56 at any one given event, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference is in the process of finding a potential site in the Buckeye State to hold the event.

According to OVAC Ron Mauck Tournament Director Dr. Dan Doyle, a committee has visited several sites on the Ohio side of the river but he would like to see a way to involve both sides of the river.

“We’re looking at a variety of options,” he said.

“Honestly, there are things that can be done.”

Doyle said there are 27 schools in Ohio that have wrestling teams compared to just 14 in West Virginia.

The OVAC preseason press conference is slated for Monday, Nov. 2.

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