GREENSBORO– The Greensboro Coliseum will be the site this weekend for one of the largest single high school sporting events in the Southeast.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association's annual state wrestling championships, which have been affected by the inclement weather across the state, are now scheduled for two days instead of three, starting Friday and running through the finals on Saturday.
The championships bring together 784 of the state's best prep grapplers for competition. Almost 1,400 individual matches will be contested over the course of the event en route to crowning 56 different individual champions. That means there is one winner in each of the NCHSAA's 14 weight divisions and four different classifications.
For the sixth consecutive year, the 1-A classification will have its own individual weight class champions as the sport has continued to grow. This will also be the fifth year in a row the wrestling championships have been in Greensboro. Prior to that the event had a seven-year run at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Wrestlers qualified based on their performances in regional tournaments.
Wrestling will start at noon on Friday with the 3-A classification first round, followed at 1:30 p.m. by the 4-A first round and then at 3 p.m. with the 2-A first round. The 1-A classification won’t begin until eight o’clock Friday night. Competition will reconvene on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
The tournament will run through Saturday evening with the championship finals, scheduled to start no earlier than 4 p.m. This is the 28th year that the wrestling championships have been "classified"; prior to 1987, all wrestlers, regardless of the size of the school, competed for a single title.
The NCHSAA, with a strong tradition in wrestling, has been offering a championship in the sport since the 1930's.
Parkland has been a dominant wrestling power in the last several years, winning eight of the last nine tournament titles over two classifications, most recently in 4-A. Pinecrest did break Parkland’s grasp on the tournament title with a championship in 2012, but this year Parkland did not qualify for the dual team tournament.
Eden Morehead captured the 3-A tournament title in last year while Orange won the two championships prior to that. Newport Croatan has taken top honors among 2-A schools three times in the last five years, but Thomasville won the state title in 2014. Chatham Central earned last year’s 1-A crown.
Earlier this month titles were decided in the NCHSAA dual team championships. Those dual team champs include Fayetteville Jack Britt (4-A), Newton Fred T. Foard (3-A), West Lincoln (2-A) and Mitchell (1-A).
The host city sponsors for the wrestling championships include the Greensboro Sports Commission, the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greensboro Sports Council.