Two Class 6A wrestling regional tournaments this weekend resemble mini-state tournaments.
Manhattan and Wichita Northwest play host to regionals where nine of the 10 ranked teams will compete. The top four wrestlers in each regional's weight class qualify for next week's state tournaments.
"It's the same story every year," Northwest coach Eric Prichard said. "There will be kids at our regional that are good wrestlers that won't be able to go to state."
Heights coach Mike Church said the Kansas State High School Activities Association should create two 16-team regionals in 6A and qualify eight full teams, as well as individuals.
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" (Maize coach) Roy Oeser has been pitching the 16-man regional idea for over seven years now, but change seems to be something the wrestling community and its leaders are scared of," Church said. "We have a real problem with the majority of our state's talent coming from central and western Kansas. There are some quality kids out east who are very tough. But the majority of the good wrestling in this state right now is coming from this area."
Campus coach Travis Bourn tells his wrestlers that if they can make it out of their regional, they have a great chance at finishing in the top six at state.
"You try and find a happy medium between peaking them and not burning them out," Bourn said. "We will be running two practices a day this week and next week, in hopes of giving the guys more conditioning."
In Class 5A, ranked teams Andover Central and Kapaun Mount Carmel will try and hold off two other ranked teams, Arkansas City and Pittsburg, at the Bishop Carroll regional.
Jaguars coach Terry Alley started emphasizing the postseason during the last week of January.
Much like Bourn, Alley has two-a-day practices and turns up the intensity.
"The varsity wrestlers are here every morning at 7 a.m. for conditioning workouts and then have our regular practice after school," Alley said. The afternoon practice is a little more intense than normal but shorter in length.
Andale and Valley Center, two of the top three teams in 4A, are in the Pratt regional. Maize South, Cheney, Clearwater, Hesston and Wellington are also in the field.