Central League wrestling championships will have a different look

There will be a Central League wrestling tournament this year, but it will be a little different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament, which will be held Saturday at Ridley High School, will be conducted in two sessions to comply with safety and social distancing protocols.

The first session will be for weight classes 106-145 and begins at 8:30 a.m. The second session is for weight classes 152-285 and starts at 1 p.m. Each session will run straight through to the championship rounds. Starting times could be adjusted depending on the weather, according to Penncrest athletic director Chip Olinger, the wrestling chairperson in the Central League.

“We want to have time to take a breath, clean up, clear out and reset the computers before we start the next section,” Olinger said. “There should be 45 minutes to an hour in there. We’re hoping to be done the first tournament by noon.”

Only wrestlers competing in each session, and their coaches, will be allowed into the gym. One parent per wrestler per session can attend. No other spectators will be permitted. Any wrestler not competing in a section that has to be on site because of transportation will be in the cafeteria watching the tournament on simulcast until it is time to wrestle.

Weigh-ins will be conducted on Friday night. There are three league matches scheduled for that night: Springfield at Ridley, Radnor at Strath Haven and Haverford at Marple Newtown. The weigh-ins for those matches will be used for Centrals. The other six teams will conduct weigh-ins at their respective schools, Olinger said.

“We don’t want the big weigh-in with kids gathering around so we figured let the trainers certify them at each school on Friday night and just wrestle on Saturday,” Olinger said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can as safely as we can.

“The biggest sticking point we had to get through is that we got every school to agree that if they make their kids wear masks or if a parent makes their kids wear masks it’s not expected to be reciprocated with the other wrestler so everybody’s coming in understanding that.”

The league team champion also will be decided Saturday.

“We didn’t count any of the dual matches toward the points for the team,” Olinger said. “It’s going to be a one-day, winner-take-all for the championship.”

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