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Iowa high school state duals officially heading to Xtream Arena
IHSAA announces 3-year agreement with Coralville arena; date set for after inaugural IGHSAU tournament
The Iowa High School Athletic Association has found a new home for its state duals wrestling tournament.
The move comes after a decision in April to move the event to the first Saturday in February, beginning in the 2022-23 season.
The IHSAA Board of Control approved a three-year agreement with Xtream Arena in Coralville to host the state duals tournament, according to a news release Tuesday. The competition will follow the inaugural Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union state wrestling tournament set for Feb. 2-3 at the venue.
“We’re thrilled to take our State Dual Team tournament to Xtream Arena, which will provide a world-class wrestling venue and staff for our student-athletes,” IHSAA Executive Director Tom Keating said. “In addition to the amenities Xtream Arena can provide, scheduling it alongside the new girls’ tournament will benefit our participating schools, officials and spectators. We trust the team at Think Iowa City and Iowa City Area Sports Commission will help us grow the dual team tournament as part of an outstanding weekend of Iowa high school wrestling.”
The tournament returns to Eastern Iowa after 11 seasons at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, taking place the day before the traditional state tournament. With the elimination of sectional weekend, the open weekend allowed the date and location to be changed.
The timing of state duals has been a debated topic for decades. From 1987 to 2011, state duals was the week after the state tournament. Cedar Rapids hosted the event from 1994-2011.
Separating the championships will help ease the burden of a weeklong venture for both. Lisbon has been a state duals mainstay, qualifying for the last eight years and winning its fifth title in 2020.
“I like the move to Xtream Arena,” Lisbon Coach Brad Smith said. “It spreads out the state series, which is good for wrestling. Going to Des Moines for five nights can get costly and now having it different weekends will be better for all.”
The field will still consist of eight teams in each of the three classes. Regional dual champions will advance with the regional dual entrants determined by the Iowa High School Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association.
According to the IHSAA release, the venue seats a little more than 5,000 spectators. The adjacent GreenState Family Fieldhouse will be used for warm-up and team space during the tournament.
Iowa City High Coach Cory Connell said his wrestlers loved the arena when they wrestled in the Dan Gable Donnybrook tournament there in December.
“I am so happy we are having the girls’ state tournament and the boys’ state dual tournament at Xtream Arena,” said Connell, who led Eddyville-Blakesburg and City High to the state duals at the previous two sites. “It is an excellent facility for wrestlers and fans alike. It is a world-class facility and the perfect size for the event.”