Girls Wrestling

The first ever girls state wrestling tournament will be held Feb. 19-20 in Billings at Lockwood High School. 

HELENA — The MHSA's first girls state wrestling tournament will be held Feb. 19-20 in Billings at Lockwood High School in an all-class format, the executive board approved Thursday. 

There are 169 girls wrestling and certified to compete at state this year, according to the MHSA. They will compete in 10 weight classes for state championships in just a few weeks after another change adopted by the MSHA executive board.

When girls wrestling was first approved, it had seven weight classes: 103, 113, 126, 138, 152, 170 and 205. Three weights were added Thursday: 120, 132 and 145. 

Like the other state wrestling meets, the girls tournament will take place over two days. However, it will be the only all-class tournament. Class AA, Class A and Class B-C in boys wrestling will have separate tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

No qualifying standards exist for the girls state wrestling tournament. Each competitor qualifies. 

As for the boys, Class AA is still determining its postseason format, so no location was announced. But the MHSA approved proposals to have the Class B/C state tournament in Shelby on March 5-6 and the Class A tournament in Miles City the same weekend.

A minimum of two spectators will be allowed per athlete with a maximum of four.

Divisional wrestling sites will require local county health department approval to host and may adjust their schedules to include more sessions to spread out more.

Basketball

For basketball, Class AA is going to stick with a playoff format as they did with volleyball this fall. Schools must be able to allow two spectators per home and visiting teams to host playoff games.

As of now, no changes are planned for state tournament locations in Class A, Class B or Class C. The tournaments were originally scheduled for March 11-13, but the dates have yet to be determined. A fourth day for each tournament is possible. 

Billings will host the Class B state tournament at the Metra. Class A would still be in Butte at the Civic Center and Class C in Bozeman at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, pending approval of local public health departments.

If there are changes, Great Falls would be a logical choice because it's open now after it was scheduled to host the Class AA state tournaments. 

The MHSA also approved a measure allowing up to 25 percent capacity for fans during the postseason with a limit of 500 per team at larger facilities or whatever the lower limitations would be imposed by the local county health departments. Each site must also provide a minimum of two tickets per suited player, but schools will determine the distribution criteria within the set maximum.

Cheerleaders will be allowed for basketball, with a maximum of 12 per team. All spectators must follow current MHSA guidelines with mask requirements and social distancing. No bands will be allowed at the state tournaments and student cheering sections won't be in the end zones.

Fans will only be allowed in for their team's games.

Swimming

The MHSA also approved a plan for state swimming meets at two sites in different locations rather than the previous all-class format. The Class A/B meet will be March 6 in Polson, pending approval of the county's public health officials. The Class AA meet was approved for March 5 in Great Falls. Two spectators will be allowed per athlete. 

In Class AA, the top 24 swimmers will qualify for state. In Class A/B that number will be limited to 18. 

Basketball is "more than a sport" to Native Americans in Montana. But Native Americans have been disproportionately devastated by COVID-19. Many involved with Native basketball programs hope this season will not face any major COVID-related obstacles.

Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406

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