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Fate of Wrestling in Section VI to be Decided Thursday

The Section VI Executive Committee is meeting tomorrow to discuss the fate of high school wrestling for this season here in WNY.

A press release by Chautauqua County on January 27th urged schools to consider postponing or cancelling the wrestling season altogether. The press release references a CDC report that points to a wrestling tournament in Florida from early December 2020 as the location in which contact tracers say twenty people caught Covid-19 and one person died.

In the last nine months there were 1,726 wrestling tournaments listed in Trackwrestling.com’s database from across the country. Those are just documented tournaments on Trackwrestling and doesn’t account for probably hundreds, if not thousands, of more tournaments that were conducted in the same time.

Simply, a cancellation or delay of high school wrestling in Western New York could be devastating for numerous programs. As of January 27th, all other NYSPHSAA Sections in NYS plan on wrestling starting Monday, February 1st including our neighbors in the Rochester region (Section V) and Nasssau County (Section VIII) which has the highest population density of all NYSPHSAA regions.

Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association wrestling chairman Peter Kennedy released the following statement on the subject:

“I certainly was disappointed to learn of the message released by WNY health departments this afternoon and I anxiously await additional details to be released tomorrow. The MMHSAA coaches and athletic departments have been working toward starting the season on Monday, February 1st. Coaches have been preparing for the potential announcement that wrestling and other winter sports would be approved since early fall 2020. I am confident that a wrestling season can be safely conducted in WNY as in neighboring states. We have learned from our colleagues in Pennsylvania and Ohio and have protocols ready that will promote healthy and safe practice and competition. To some unfamiliar with scholastic wrestling may believe the sport is high risk at this time. I believe there are measures that can be taken that are unique to wrestling that would actually make wrestling more safe than some other sports. Coaches can limit contact to small groups for training, wrestling pre-meet protocol already includes a medical check, and dual meets would have only two competitors without masks during competition. All others in the venue – coaches and teammates – would be masked. Simply, wrestling coaches are prepared for the season and these athletes have already been told publicly the season was a go.”

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