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MHSAA Team & Individual Wrestling Finals Coming To Kalamazoo, Michigan

Posted on March 1st, 2021

The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Team Wrestling Finals have made Wings Event Center their home the last three seasons, with a charged championship atmosphere made even better on Wings raised center stage, under the lights of a giant scoreboard, surrounded by fans from all over the state.

 

Things will look a little bit different in Kalamazoo when the MHSAA returns this season, as COVID-19 has reduced the number of spectators that may attend.

 

But the opportunity to deliver a similar championship experience to participating athletes and coaches – plus the versatility of the Wings facility – has made it not only the valued home for this season’s Team Wrestling Finals, but also the Division 1 and Division 3 Individual Wrestling Finals to be competed a few days later.

 

 

 

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The Team Finals – which includes the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals rounds all on one day – will be wrestled March 30. Division 1 and 3 of the Individual Finals will be wrestled over two days, April 2-3.

 

The MHSAA will enjoy the opportunity to limit mixing of communities and possible spread of the virus by hosting matches both in the Arena and also the Valley areas of the event center.

 

And although spectators will be limited to one per participant, the tournament fields will remain the same sizes as years past thanks to a rapid testing program all wrestlers have participated in throughout the season.

 

Many of the traditions that have become synonymous with the two Wrestling Finals events will be put on hold this season, but there will still be much to celebrate.

 

 

 

 

32 … to 16 … to 8 … to 4

 

Generally over two days, but this year only one, 32 wrestling teams from all over Michigan will be whittled to four champions. Wrestling is the only head-to-head MHSAA sport featuring a format with Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals all contended together at the same time at one location.

 

The tournament is split into four divisions based on school enrollment (the largest schools compete in Division 1, the next-largest in Division 2, etc.). Utilizing both the Arena and Valley, four Quarterfinals per division will be wrestled simultaneously over two sessions to begin March 30. 

 

Next will be Semifinals, again with four matches wrestled simultaneously in both locations. All four championship matches then will be wrestled in the Arena, side by side, beginning approximately 4:30 p.m.

 

 

Individual Achievers

 

With the weekend and arrival of April will come the Individual Finals, with Divisions 1 and 3 competing – one Friday and one Saturday. Divisions 2 and 4 Individual Finals will take place in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena, April 2-3.

 

Between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, 896 wrestlers will take part in the individual tournament finales. Combined, they’ll face off in 1,680 matches over those two days, with 14 champions awarded in each division. 

 

For more information on how to watch Team or Individual matches live, please click here.

 

 

 

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Perennial Powers Rise

 

We have tended of late to see many of the wrestling powerhouses back at the Team Finals year after year, and last season was no different.

 

Entering this year’s team tournament, Detroit Catholic Central has won four straight Division 1 championships, Lowell has won an MHSAA Finals-record seven straight in Division 2 and Dundee will be working for a fourth-consecutive Division 3 title. 

 

But a major highlight last season was the ascension of a new champion in Division 4. Clinton, coming off a runner-up finish in 2019, ended a three-year championship run by Hudson with its first MHSAA Finals title in this sport. 

 

The Individual Finals are one of the most popular championship events across all MHSAA sports, and only 29 athletes in Michigan high school history have left the mat as a four-time champion. Two more standouts entered this season with the opportunity to join that group.

 

 

Copy and content provided by: Geoff Kimmerly, Michigan High School Athletic Association