State wrestling division meets need some realigning

Nobody appreciates the battle turned in daily, the grind, the physical and emotional wear-and-tear every high school wrestler endures from the first week of December all the way through February.

It can be a brutal, character-building ride.

So you can understand the powers that be and the state’s wrestling coaches who are looking to lavish honors onto as many of these hard-working athletes as possible.

But numbers are dropping in all sports, and wrestling is no exception.

State Championship Saturday in New Hampshire clearly showed a need for wrestling to retract and go back to two different meets.

Currently, there are three.

Take a look at the current numbers involved. In Division I, there were 173 official entrants, more than 12 per weight class. In Divisions II and III, those numbers tumble dramatically to 93 (7 per) and 115 (8 per), respectively.

These are hardly true barometers for state titles. With all due respect, there needs to be some retraction so this actually matters.

“It’s something that has to be looked at,” said veteran coach Barry Chooljian, the architect of the Division I wrestling empire built by his Owls.

Chooljian goes back to the old days where that was Class L (roughly the Division I equivalent) and Class IMS (basically everyone else).

In fact, Timberlane was an IMS school.

Take a look below the border in Massachusetts. The Bay State wrestles in three divisions as well and holds a similar “All-State Meet” this week, akin to New Hampshire’s Meet of Champions.

The difference, though?

In all three divisions, there are 16 wrestlers competing for the title. It’s a full field.

New Hampshire has to look at returning to two. And it has to happen now.

BIG PROPS TO NHIAA

While talking state meets, you truly have to appreciate how the NHIAA runs these championships. The organization is amazing. The meets run like clockwork, and yes the NHIAA attempts to make the day special for the

athletes.

For an example, we give you the championship program, which is a beautiful piece of work.

For your $5, you get rosters, all glossy color photos from every team competing, stats, facts, the entrants and a history of the event. This is a big day for these athletes, and the NHIAA treats them right.

Great job.