Wrestling sectionals across the state have been canceled due to a skin irritation outbreak, according to coaches.
The events for all four divisions were scheduled for Saturday.
Desert Vista coach David Gonzalez confirmed he heard from the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Dean Visser late this afternoon.
Apparently six to seven schools were hit hard by some sort of skin infection, usually impetigo or ring worm, and instead of risking a state wide outbreak the AIA decided to cancel all 16 events (4 per division).
“I’m shocked,” Chandler coach Vidal Mejia said. “If you can’t clean your own mats then I don’t know what you are doing. We go overboard, probably, to make sure something like this doesn’t happen.”
The released a statement later in the afternoon:
"It has come to the attention of the Arizona Interscholastic Association that a number of wrestlers have contracted a skin infection. It is important to note that none have been reported to be MRSA. ...
The AIA recognizes the disruption this may cause to family's schedules and preparation for competition, but the AIA is focused on the health of all of its athletes.
More information will be made available at a later time. It is anticipated the AIA will have an update as to the progress and logistics of the sectional and state wrestling tournaments by the close of business Monday."
The question is how the state tournament will play out next weekend and if a sectional tournament, probably conducted on Wednesday, can be squeezed in before state or if that is even fair to the competitors who qualify for state.
Division III and IV are scheduled for Thursday and Friday at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley with Division I and Division II competing Friday and Saturday.
The small school state basketball tournament starts on Friday, Feb. 21 at Tim's Toyota Center so if AIA plans on staying at same venue there isn't much wiggle room.
The initial suggestion, by both Gonzalez and Mejia, was to revert to the old 5A way of everyone qualifying for state. Instead of cramming it into two days, there is a possibility wrestling will start with the first handful of rounds at a high school (travel would be crazy) on Tuesday (not likely) or Wednesday and then start with the quarterfinals in Prescott.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.