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Iowa high school state wrestling tournament to implement seeding

Before the championship round of the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Before the championship round of the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

The IHSAA Board of Control approved a wrestling advisory committee recommendation Monday to seed the traditional state wrestling tournament, beginning in 2019.

The top eight wrestlers in each bracket will be seeded, which should help decrease early-round matchups of tournament favorites and increase the odds for more highly-anticipated bouts in Saturday night’s finals. It replaces a random draw that was previously used and paired district champions with district runners-up, regardless of resumes.

The decision follows a Board of Control verdict in April that will turn over seeding decisions in the State Duals tournament to the coaches.

“The seeding of wrestling tournaments is something that happens every weekend across the state and across the country,” IHSAA wrestling administrator Lewie Curtis said in a release. “Our state tournament is one of very few that hasn’t used seeding to determine its brackets. With this decision, that’s no longer the case.”

The eight traditional state tournament seeds in every weight class in all three classes will be determined by TrackWrestling criteria that is already in use by close to 30 states, according to the IHSAA. The other eight will be randomly drawn, with qualifiers from the same district tournament still separated in the first round.

Wrestlers will be compared to all of the other 15 qualifiers in their brackets, with a point awarded to the wrestler with the first advantage from the following criteria:

1. Head-to-head competition

2. Competition against common opponents

3. Returning state champion

4. Returning second- or third-place finisher in previous season (equal value)

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5. Returning fourth- through eighth-place finisher from previous season (valued in order)

6. District champion

7. Returning state qualifier in previous season

8. Winning percentage in current season

If there is no advantage after those eight, each wrestler will receive 0.5 points.

Most No. 1 seeds, therefore, will have 15 points. No. 2 seeds would garner 14, and so on.

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