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High school wrestling: LHSAA cancels remainder of regular season; state tournament still on

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The LHSAA has decided to end the wrestling regular season.

In a memorandum sent to principals, administrators, athletic directors and coaches Tuesday, the LHSAA stated the measure is meant “to ensure the 2020-21 state wrestling championships will not be affected due to potential COVID exposure and those accompanying rolling quarantines.”

The state tournament is scheduled for Feb. 26-27 at the Raising Cane’s River Center in Baton Rouge.

The LHSAA’s decision comes on the heels of a COVID-19 outbreak connected to the Louisiana Classic tournament held Jan. 15-16 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzalez. The outbreak was confirmed by the Louisiana Department of Health on Jan. 23.

According to an LDH press release, there have been more than 20 reports of athletes, staff and attendees testing positive for COVID-19. The outbreak has received some national attention.

The LDH release states that all individuals attending the event should also quarantine, or stay home, to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

Wrestlers from Airline and Parkway competed in the event. 

In a text message, Airline coach Chase Cox said Tuesday Airline had already canceled the remainder of its regular season “to make sure no one would be quarantined and miss the state tournament. Just can’t risk it.”

The cancellation of the rest of the regular season means the annual Ken Cole Invitational scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Lafayette will not be held. Parkway is the defending champion and has won it two of the last three years.

The annual Northwest Louisiana Regional Tournament will also not be held.

“Interim assistant secretary of the office of public health Dr. Joseph Kantor and the chairman of the LHSAA sport advisory committee, Dr. Greg Stewart both agree this mitigation measure is the best option to ensure our students make it to their state championship,” the LHSAA memorandum states. “Schools are encouraged to continue with practices, however no interscholastic scrimmages will be permitted.

“In closing, this decision was not easy but it was one made with reflecting input and keeping the overall best interests of our athletes’ health and safety in the forefront. It also gives assurance to the seniors and / or other grade level participants who may be defending their previous state championships a guaranteed opportunity. The last thing we want is to have this opportunity taken away due to a situation that resulted from the recent large scale multi-school tournament. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.”

— Featured photo by Robert Summerlin 

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