As expected, the NJSIAA on Thursday announced plans to move back the district and regional championships in wrestling to account for the change in the dates of the state championships in Atlantic City.
The state championships were moved to March 8-9-10 in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall as the facility was unavailable the weekend of March 1-2-3 because of a Lady Gaga concert.
Since NJSIAA was reluctant to have wrestlers have a 13-day break between the regionals and state championships, the organization's wrestling committee voted unanimously to move back the districts and regionals by a week.
The state group team championships also were moved back a week.
"The rescheduling of this winter’s team, district, and regional events was done out of concern for our student-athletes," NJSIAA Executive Director Steve Timko said in a statement. "Their well-being is always our main priority, and we all agreed that it was not appropriate for them to have to maintain peak condition for a 13-day period between the regional finals and the state championships. With this decision, we've trimmed that gap down to one week, which has always been the standard time gap during previous seasons."
Here are the changes:
Team group sectional competition, held at higher seed, will be Feb. 11, 13 and 15 instead of Feb. 4, 6 and 8.
The team group finals, to be held at the Pines Belt Arena in Toms River, will be Feb. 17 instead of Feb. 10.
The districts -- in which a total of about 4,500 wrestlers compete at 32 different sites -- will be held Feb. 22 and 23 instead of Feb. 15 and 16.
The regionals -- which involve about 1,300 wrestlers at eight different sites -- will be held Feb. 27 and March 1 and 2 instead of Feb. 20, 22 and 23.
“We anticipate most district and regional locations will remain the same, but there may be a handful of these events that will need to be relocated,” Timko said. “The committee truly recognized the challenges school administrators face in changing schedules, and possibly venues, and they also took into consideration the impact on spring sports. But, in the end, protecting teenage student-athletes was seen as the primary consideration."
-- Phil Anastasia