IOWA — The mats are down, the brackets are set … its time to wrestle at Wells Fargo Arena.
Wednesday is the start of five days of championship high school wrestling in Des Moines with the State Dual Tournament. On Thursday the traditional tournament begins with more than 600 wrestlers competing for individual titles.
That part of the tournament will be familiar to fans, but there will be big changes to this year’s tournament in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are typically 12,000 fans filling each session of the tournament schedule. This year just 5,300 fans will be spread throughout the building with masks required for entry.
Adam Flack with the Iowa Events Center says the mitigation and safety efforts are in place to ensure that nothing interferes with what is the biggest week of the year for many Iowa kids.
“Think back as a high school athlete, you want to play here, you want to finish your season and spent that time here with your friends,” says Flack, “We’re doing everything we can similar to the other events to make sure that we can really put on a great event – a safe event, first and foremost. That is our number one priority, making sure you’re wearing your mask when you come in – unless you’re eating or drinking, you’re keeping your distance, we have a clear bag policy. We’re doing what we can from a safety and health protocol to really make sure these kids have their moment.”
Every match of the championship will be streamed live via TrackWrestling. The finals will be carried live on KDSM FOX-17 in Des Moines. More details about streaming and live scoring can be found on the tournament webpage on the IHSAA website.