For years, a dual meet champion from both the large and small school divisions has been announced before the finals of the individual state tournament.
However, those #1 squads were determined by rankings; not in competition on the mat.
That is going to change as the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee unanimously approved the establishment of a dual meet state championship for both Division 1 and Division 2, beginning in January 2018.
"I think it's been the desire of the wrestling community to have a dual meet state championship for a long time," said Marty Sherman, NYSPHSAA Wrestling Coordinator. "Years ago there was a moratorium in New York State, which didn't allow for the expansion of any tournament. Since that's been lifted, our committee has tried to put it together."
In addition, Sherman said wrestling being changed to a designation of a "team/individual" sport rather than just an "individual" sport has played a role.
"Individual sports are not allowed to have more than one championship," he said. "Now, with the individual/team designation, that can change. You compete in dual meets all year and wrestle in tournaments as a team all season, yet it's individuals that are really honored at the state championships. Now, we have the opportunity to better recognize our top teams."
Sherman said the event would take place in "Week 30" of the season, which is the last Saturday in January, before Sectional qualifying generally starts.
According to Sherman, both the small school and large school brackets will have 12 squads, with "each Section selecting a team from Division 1 and Division 2 to participate."
There would be at least three at large selections (two in Division 1 and one in Division 2) as the PSAL and CHSAA are not slated to take part.
"We've put together the way we'll pick the at large teams," Sherman said. "It's a points system we can use across the state and we're going to look at it this year and see if it needs any tweaks. We also have a seeding process we've discussed."
There will be four pools of three teams each, with the winner of each pool advancing to the semifinals. [8 of the 12 teams in each Division will be seeded, with the remaining four randomly assigned to a pool].
One of the key next steps is a bidding process, scheduled for January, to determine the location of the dual meet championships.
"We had all 11 Sections unanimously approve this, which is a really big plus," Sherman said. "There's been a lot of recognition for outstanding individuals in our state and now there's a chance for kids to be part of a championship team, too, which I think is really big. I think it's a great step in the right direction for the sport of wrestling in New York State. At this time next year, we'll be in the process of putting on a good show."
NYS DUAL MEET CHAMPIONSHIP PROPOSAL
Division 1 Bracket: Teams from Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 2 At Large entries
Division 2 Bracket: Teams from Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 1 At Large entry
For each Division: 4 pools of three teams, winner of each pool advances to semifinal round