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Dual wrestling plan receives initial SDHSAA approval

PIERRE — The high school state dual wrestling tournament is set to return to South Dakota in 2019-20.

But there's some items that need to be ironed out along the way. The South Dakota High School Activities Association's Board of Directors voted 7-0 on first reading to approve the plan to bring back the state dual tournament for the 2019-20 season, instead of as early as next year, in 2018-19, during the board's regular meeting Monday in Pierre.

The state's athletic directors had voted last month 71-24 in favor of the three-day tournament format returning at the 2019 state meet and playing out the dual championship simultaneously with the individual and individual team championship.

In that light, the board members agreed that the dual tournament process should move ahead and the SDHSAA would gather wrestling stakeholders in the coming months to decide how to move ahead with the plans for qualifying. The Board of Directors specifically signed off on the three-day state format and intend to finalize that for their June meeting.

Among the concerns yet to be figured out is how teams will qualify for the state meet. The proposal that was sent through the state's wrestling advisory committee and approved by the state's athletic directors called for teams to indicated by Dec. 31 of that year whether they were interested in participating in that year's duals.

Then, on the weekend formerly used for district tournaments and the week before the current individual region tournaments, a dual tournament would be held to decide the top-two teams in each region to advance to the state tournament. In Class A, the region tournament was to be seeded in by in-season results and in Class B, by coaches' ballot. Regions also had the choice of using regular-season results to determine qualifiers for the state meet, provided they all wrestled head-to-head during the season.

There was not a consensus on that plan Monday. Representatives from some regions did not feel it would necessarily be possible to schedule dual meets with every school in the region. For example, Region 3A, which includes Chamberlain and Mitchell, includes both Milbank and Todd County in the region on opposite ends of the map.