The Greensboro Coliseum will be the site this weekend for one of the largest single high school sporting events in the Southeast.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association's annual state wrestling championships are scheduled for three days, starting Thursday evening and running all day Friday and Saturday, bringing together over 784 of the state's best prep grapplers for three days of competition. Almost 1,400 individual matches will be contested over the course of the event en route to crowning 56 different individual champions. That means there is one winner in each of the NCHSAA's 14 weight divisions and four different classifications.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 1-A classification will have its own individual weight class champions as the sport continues to grow. This will also be the fifth year in a row the wrestling championships have been in Greensboro. Prior to that the event had a seven-year run at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Wrestlers qualified based on their performances in regional tournaments, which had been originally scheduled for last Friday and Saturday but in some cases could not be finished until Monday.
Wrestling will start at 5 p.m. on Thursday with the 2-A classification first round, followed later in the evening by first round matches in 3-A and 4-A. Those classes will begin wrestling again at 9 a.m. on Friday, with the 1-A starting at 2 p.m. since the field in that classification has fewer wrestlers.
The tournament will run through Saturday evening with the championship finals, starting at 5 p.m. This is the 27th year that the wrestling championships have been "classified"; prior to 1987, all wrestlers, regardless of the size of the school, competed for a single title.
The NCHSAA, with a strong tradition in wrestling, has been offering a championship in the sport since the 1930's.
Parkland has been a dominant wrestling power in the last several years, winning seven of the last eight tournament titles over two classifications. Parkland has also earned eight consecutive state championships in two different classifications in dual team competition, beating Fayetteville Jack Britt for the dual team title. Jack Britt was the runner-up in the tournament championship in 2013. Pinecrest did break Parklands grasp on the tournament title with a championship in 2012.
Orange has captured the 3-A tournament title in the last two championships while Croatan took the 2013 2-A crown for the third time in the past four years. North Rowan earned last years 1-A crown, breaking a three-year title run by West Wilkes.
Earlier this month titles were decided in the NCHSAA dual team championships. Those dual team champs include Parkland (4-A), Eden Morehead (3-A), Newton-Conover (2-A) and Mitchell (1-A).
The host city sponsors for the wrestling championships include the Greensboro Sports Commission, the Greensboro Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Greensboro Sports Council.