There will be another tournament at the TSSAA state wrestling championships this year.
Division I now will include AAA and A/AA tournaments with AAA keeping 32-man brackets and the new A/AA competition having 12 wrestlers in 16-man brackets. The AAA teams will continue with eight regions and four qualifiers per weight class, while A/AA will have three regions and four qualifiers per weight class. There will be one bye in each four-man quadrant of every weight class in A/AA, and those will be determined by blind draw.
DII qualifier added here
There also are changes in Division II with wrestlers having to qualify in one of two regionals rather than just showing up and weighing in. The West region will qualify three wrestlers per weight class from a tournament at St. Benedict, while the East/Middle region will qualify six. That tournament site wasn't determined until Thursday. It will be at Baylor.
Each Division II weight class will have a "wrestle-in" to determine the eighth state qualifier, with the West No. 3 finisher meeting the East No. 6.
Honoring John Farr
On Nov. 27 before meets with Ooltewah and Tyner, the wrestling gym at Red Bank will be named in honor of John Farr, one of the state's wrestling pioneers and the Lions' first wrestling coach.
"When Mr. [Justin] Robertson [the principal] gave us the gym for our home meets, we went in and painted and renovated," new coach Shane Turner said. "We want to make sure that Coach Farr's dedication to the sport and to Red Bank are not forgotten."
Girls stay in Franklin
The girls' invitational state tournament will continue to be a part of the boys' weekend in Franklin despite repeated suggestions to give the girls' event its own stage.
Also, TSSAA executive assistant director Mark Reeves said this week that a proposal to make girls' wrestling a sanctioned sport, submitted by Clarksville Northeast and Science Hill, is expected to be presented to the TSSAA's legislative council in the spring.
The legislative council has voted previously against such a move.
No more parade
The TSSAA tournament's parade of champions, which started when the event was held at Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena, has been shelved.
TSSAA officials and their wrestling advisers have come to the conclusion that the march of state medalists that took place before the championship finals does not work well at the current venue, Williamson County's Agricultural Expo in Franklin.
"The venue doesn't lend itself to that, plus we're adding a division and we also had some [wrestlers] the last couple of years that haven't given it the respect it needed," Reeves said. "We're looking at other ways to highlight the medalists and finalists."
Key area tournament dates
Nov. 24 -- Ringgold Tri-State Classic
Dec. 7 -- Ooltewah Invitational; Dade County Brett Warren Invitational
Dec. 14 -- Cleveland Duals; East Hamilton "Day of Duals"
Dec. 20-21 -- Bradley Invitational; McCallie Invitational
Dec. 21 -- Chattanooga Christian Chargers Invitational
Jan. 4 -- Central Invitational; Soddy-Daisy's Trojan Invitational; Georgia region duals
Jan. 9-11 -- Georgia state duals at Macon
Jan. 11 -- East Hamilton Invitational; Walker Valley Duals
Jan. 18 -- St. Andrew's-Sewanee's Mountain Top Invitational
Jan. 23 -- Region 4-AAA duals at Ooltewah
Jan. 31-Feb. 1 -- Tennessee state duals at Franklin; Georgia regionals
Feb. 7-8 -- Tennessee Region 4-A/AA traditional at Hixson; Georgia sectionals
Feb. 8 -- Tennessee Region 4-AAA at Walker Valley
Feb. 13-15 -- Tennessee traditional state tournament at Franklin; Georgia traditional state tournament at Gwinnett Arena
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...
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