SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – March 1 brings the beginning of the season for Scotch Plains-Fanwood wrestling, as is allowed by the NJSIAA, the governing body for high school sports in the state of New Jersey. Coaches now may hold practices and tryouts. However, competition for the Raiders will not begin until Thursday, March 18, when Scotch Plains-Fanwood is scheduled to host Cranford, according to SPFHS athletic director Ryan Miller.
The Raiders' tentative schedule, according to the Union County Conference, will be:
- Thursday, Mar 18, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Cranford at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
- Friday, Mar 19, at 4:00 p.m. at South Plainfield High School
- Tuesday, Mar 23, at 4:00 p.m. at Rahway High School
- Friday, Mar 26, at 4:00 p.m. vs. New Providence at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
- Tuesday, Mar 30, at 4:00 p.m. at Arthur L. Johnson High School (Clark, NJ)
- Thursday, Apr 1, at 4:00 p.m. at Elizabeth at the Elizabeth-Dunn Center
- Tuesday, Apr 6, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Union at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
- Thursday, Apr 8, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Roselle Park at Scotch Plains - Fanwood High School
- Monday, Apr 12, at 6:00 p.m. vs. Brearley High School (Kenilworth) Site TBD
- Tuesday, Apr 13, at 4:00 p.m. at Gov. Livingston High School
- Thursday, Apr 15, at 4:00 p.m. vs. Linden at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
In a memo to member schools, the NJSIAA has shared plans for a streamlined, state individual wrestling tournament for both girls and boys. Because the 2021 wrestling season has been so impacted by COVID, there will be no district-level competition. Instead, the tournament will begin at the regional level, on April 3 for girls and on April 17 and 18 for boys. No team tournament will be held this season.
A selection committee will determine participants for both the girls and boys regional competitions. For girls, a total of eight wrestlers will be seeded per weight class for each of the two regions, while 16 boys will be seeded per weight class for each of the four, newly created combined regions. For both girls and boys, the wrestlers who place in the top four in their weight class, in each region, will advance to the state-level competition. The state finals will be held on April 10 for girls and on April 24 and 25 for boys.
"The decision was either an individual or a team tournament, and the individual tournament had more support from the coaches who represent the athletes," Miller said. "It's not something that anyone loves, but it's best we can do."
"There's nothing like the kid who comes from nowhere and gets on a great run and makes it to the state tournament," said Miller, explaining what has been lost this year due to COVID. "However, the NJSIAA plan gives credibility to the regular season. It's unfortunate, but this is the best we can do, under the circumstances."
Venues for the regional and state competitions have yet to be finalized. While all plans are subject to change based on virus-related considerations, determinations related to occupancy – including spectators – will be based on government mandates in effect at the time of the event.
“Nothing about this past year has been fair or easy, but given the circumstances, this framework provides our student athletes an opportunity to compete at the highest level,” said NJSIAA COO Colleen Maguire. “Ultimately, health data and trends will determine if a tournament of this type will be possible. The formula is simple – the fewer the cases, the more opportunity to compete.”
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