The trademark tournament of the New Jersey high school wrestling season will be held in 2021.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association sent a memo to its member schools on Monday announcing that it has scheduled both boys and girls individual state tournaments for the 2021 season, finally settling months of speculation about whether the state would sponsor an individual state tournament.

NJ Advance Media was the first to report the state tournament announcement.

There will, however, be major changes to the individual postseason structure because of the shorter length of the season and COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

The girls state finals will be on Saturday, April 10 and the boys state finals will run on Saturday, April. 24 and Sunday, April 25. The host sites for each tournament have not yet been determined.

There will not be a state team tournament in 2021.

New region structure

The major change is the elimination of the 32 district tournaments. There will now be four regional tournaments that combine the eight traditional regions. They will be North 1 (Regions 1 and 2), North 2 (Regions 3 and 4), Central (Regions 5 and 6) and South (Regions 7 and 8). Those tournaments will take place on Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April `18 and feature four separate sessions. The host sites will be announced at a later date.

The first session on April 17 will include weight classes 106, 113, 120 and 126 and begin at 10 a.m. The second session that day will feature weight classes 132, 138 and 145. The Sunday session at 10 a.m. will have weight classes 152, 160, 170 and 182 and the afternoon session on Sunday will have the remaining weights of 195, 220 and 285.

Each weight class will have a 16-man bracket selected from 24 candidates.

The seeding process for the region tournaments will also be much different since there will be no district qualifying tournaments. There will be eight selection committees, one from each traditional region, and will include the New Jersey Wrestling Coaches Association region president and one coach from each district for a total of five members. Coaches will submit wrestlers for consideration no later than April 10 at 5 p.m. Once a wrestler is submitted for consideration their weight class is locked and there will be no changes after the deadline for any reason. The selection committee will then select the top three wrestlers per weight class in each district for a total of 12 wrestlers representing each traditional region. The list of 24 wrestlers will then be sent to the "Super Region" committee for consideration. The selection criteria will be provided to each NJWCA region president to ensure seeding consistency between each region.

Each combined region will have its own seeding committee consisting of the two NJWCA region presidents and two coaches from each traditional region. They will then seed the top 16 wrestlers in each weight class and rank the remaining eight wrestlers in order as alternates. The "Super Region" seeding criteria will be consistent with years prior. It does not have to be an even 8-8 split between each region within the "Super Region".

Wrestlebacks will be in the quarterfinal round and the top four wrestlers per weight class in each "Super Region" will qualify for the state tournament.

State Tournament

The state tournament structure will be mainly unchanged other than it being a 16-man bracket for each weight class, half of the usual 32 that qualify.

The seeding meeting will be on Tuesday, April 20 and will be led by the tournament director and the eight NJWCA region presidents.

Sessions and wrestlebacks will be announced at a later date as they are site-dependant. First through eighth places will receive medals.

Girls Regions

The girls postseason will be split up into two regions, north and south, and will be contested on Saturday, April 3. NJ Advance Media reported the host sights as Union HS for the South Region and Williamstown HS for the South Region, but the NJSIAA's release said the sites are TBA.

Coaches will submit wrestlers for consideration no later than March 27 at 5 p.m. Once a wrestler is submitted for consideration their weight class is locked and there will be no changes after the deadline for any reason.

The seeding committee will seed the top eight wrestlers in each weight class plus four alternates for each region, ranked in order. The top four place-winners in each region will advance to the state tournament.

Key Dates

March 1 - practice begins

March 16 - competition begins

March 27 - girls region considerations due by 5 p.m.

March 30 - girls region seeding meetings

April 3 - girls region tournaments

April 6 - girls state tournament seeding meeting

April 10 - girls state tournament

April 10 - boys region consideration list due by 5 p.m.

April 11 - region selection committees meet

April 12 - "Super Region" seeding meetings

April 17 - boys "Super Regions" day one (weights 106-145)

April 18 - boys "Super Regions" day two (weights 152-285)

April 20 - boys state tournament seeding meeting

April 24 and 25 - boys state tournament

 

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