’Cats are off the mats … for now

Photo Credit: CHSAA

Wrestlers hope for Jan. start to re-postponed season

In Jordan Larsen’s classroom world of mathematics, values for variables are determined regularly.

But in rare occasions, sometimes it seems there’s just no solving for ‘x.’

With no formula yet found to help answer the COVID-19 problem stumping the Centennial State, the Colorado High School Activities Association recently gave Ignacio Wrestling’s mastermind – and all other coaches north, south, east and west – word that the 2020-21 campaign has again been postponed.

And, adding to the veteran skipper’s dismay, the already-revised schedule will be pared down another week, further limiting both the amount and type of competition his Bobcats can – to say nothing yet of will – face this winter.

“Wrestling season will now only be duals (10 maximum) during the regular season, with no tournaments allowed,” he revealed online via a Facebook post, later giving permission for excerpt usage. “This is definitely a blow, and I’m a little at a loss for words on what this means for our wrestlers across Colorado this year.”

“I have been consistently a part of wrestling and the season as a coach or athlete for over 20 years at this point, and this is a huge blow … across the state in general for our current athletes at all levels.”

But should a targeted mid-January meeting be- tween CHSAA, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Gov. Jared Polis’ COVID Response Team determine that sufficient advances have been made towards reining in the disease, the official go-ahead could be given for prep matmen to finally resume working towards a trip to Denver and the State Championships inside renamed Ball Arena.

“We are still slated to have a season with a potential postseason regional and State tournament,” Larsen continued. “While this is obviously not ideal in any way, I am extremely hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to wrestle.”

Noting the Association’s proposal to permit all ‘Season B’ sports, wrestling included, to begin practices on Jan. 25, 2021, and then see first competition on Feb. 1, Larsen did say that for the immediate time being, informal open-room grappling and weight-training schedules have been put on hold, pending approval from the Ignacio School District and San Juan Basin Health to be conducted as “non-school-affiliated” club-style activities.

“As soon as I hear the word to proceed … we will get back to the grind,” declared Larsen, who did mention that weight certifications would still take place following the student-athletes’ return from the holiday break – a time frame health personnel will surely be monitoring.

“At this time, we do not have enough information about what disease incidence and hospitalization capacity will look like in January, and therefore are unable to make a determination regarding indoor high school athletics in Season B,” read the letter sent to CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green from CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Rye.

“Season B high school sports would operate based on the restrictions in the level of the Dial [sic] in the county in which the school resides. For counties in Level Red, this means no indoor group sports are authorized.”

“I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe as we near the end of the year, and please contact me with any questions,” said Larsen. “Also, please spread this information to whomever I may have missed, athlete or parent, that has interest in wrestling. It is the best sport in the world for kids to learn; it teaches discipline, perseverance, dedication, and hard work ethic.”

Under the proposed timeline, the slimmed-down 2021 State Championships – from shotgun start to podium finish(es) – would be staged on one frenetic March 20, as opposed to being the famed three-day spectacle familiar to fans. 

Keep reading the Drum for all schedule alterations.

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