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 are scheduled for three days, starting Thursday evening and running all day Friday and Saturday, bringing together over 600 of the state’s best prep grapplers for three days of competition. Almost 1,300 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 third 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 third 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.
Wrestling will start at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday with the 3-A classification first round, followed later in the evening by first round matches in 4-A and 2-A. Those classes will begin wrestling again at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the 1-A starting at 1 p.m. since the field in that classification has fewer wresters.
The tournament will run through Saturday evening with the championship finals, starting at 5 p.m. This is the 25th 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.
Winston-Salem Parkland has won five consecutive state crowns and is the two-time defending state 4-A tournament champion after winning three straight 3-A titles. Cary had won the team tournament championship at the 4-A level five consecutive times before Parkland’s win in 2010.
Catawba County’s Fred T. Foard captured the 3-A tournament title in 2011 while Newport Croatan took the 2-A crown and West Wilkes was the 1-A winner.
Earlier this month two of those defending tournament champions also won their respective classifications in the NCHSAA dual team championships. Those dual team champs include Parkland (4-A), Orange (3-A), Piedmont (2-A) and West Wilkes (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.