Class 6A and 5A wrestling is in a different building for the fifth consecutive season, which is difficult for coaches such as Manhattan's Robert Gonzales.
He's used to staying at the same hotel and eating at the same restaurants during the state tournament. And from 1985-2007, he was able to do that when the tournament was at the Kansas Coliseum each year.
The hope is that the tournament will do so well today and Saturday at Park City's Hartman Arena that it will return there. The tournaments were at Intrust Bank Arena in 2010, the Kansas Coliseum in 2009 and 6A was at Koch Arena in 2008.
"I think it will be a nice-size arena," said Gary Musselman, executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. "The crowd comes down to the edges of the floor there, and I think it will be an exciting atmosphere."
The 2010 tournament at newly-opened Intrust Bank Arena cost the KSHSAA. The association, after arena rental and expenses, had a net loss of $44,980.
Musselman doesn't expect such a problem this year.
"But you never really know," he said. "Your crystal ball is never really good. What we would hope is a normal year. If we had a normal year in all our activities, then every activity can pay its own way and there are some that could generate some profit to put into the overall operation to defray expenses in areas that don't have revenue."
Ticket prices at Hartman Arena will be $12 for an adult all-day ticket, $8 for a student all-day ticket. That includes a $2 surcharge by the arena, which is not charging its usual fee for parking.
Getting the most of them —Campus will have three wrestlers competing in Class 6A, and coach Travis Bourn thinks two have a shot at placing or winning a title —especially senior 125-pounder Cody Beasley.
Beasley won at 119 pounds in 2010 and has a 27-2 record. Most kids would feel the pressure of trying to win back-to-back championships. But Beasley is having more fun than in previous years.
"He was in the semifinals as a freshman and a sophomore," Bourn said. "When he lost, he ended up taking sixth both times. That put a lot of pressure on him to try to get to the championship. But he's having a lot more fun this year, and I hope that he can repeat."
Teammate Dalton Rodd (171 pounds) placed third at the Campus regional and will take a 22-9 record into Hartman Arena. Taber Barrientez will also represent Campus at 135 pounds.
"We've got our 135-pounder and our 171-pounder, and we just hope that they can do the best that they can do," Bourn said. "This is Cody's last year. It's his last shot. It would be nice to be able to coach another two-time state champion. It's good for the school, too."
Healthy in time — On Feb. 14, North junior Andrew Suriano was cleared medically to wrestle again. Just in time to compete in Class 6A regionals, where he finished second at 145 pounds after an injury default.
Suriano, who qualified for state for the first time, missed most of January with an injury — coach Jake Johnston wouldn't elaborate on the specific injury — and then was re-injured in February.
The decision to default in the regional championship was an easy one.
"He's a smart kid, he knew it was the best thing to get to the state tournament and that he be healthy for state," Johnston said.
Going for four — While seven wrestlers are competing for their third state titles, only one has a shot at winning his fourth — Lenexa St. James' Ryne Cokeley. Twenty-five wrestlers have won four titles.
Not so perfect — Central-Burden's Ky Biddle is undefeated heading into the Class 3-2-1A tournament, but he isn't going to let his record go to his head.
Biddle knows that the slightest mistake or distraction can get in the way of a title. He's finished third two years in a row.
"He's happy with it (his record)," Central-Burden coach Garrett Harding said. "But he tries not to focus on it especially going into this weekend. It's an awesome accomplishment, but what really matters is this weekend. It's what he's been training for all season."
Blemish-free — Eleven wrestlers enter state tournaments with perfect records.
There are four in Class 6A, including Wichita Heights' Matt Reed (31-0). Class 5A has two, including Andover Central's Alex Bontz (36-0).
Class 4A has three — Smoky Valley's Alex Wolf (35-0), Lenexa St. James' Taylor Moeder (45-0) and Chanute's Sam Son (40-0). Class 3-2-1A has perfect records from Central-Burden's Biddle (32-0) and Southeast-Saline's Brock Long (31-0).
There are plenty of one-loss wrestlers, too. There are five in Class 6A10 in Class 5A, nine in 4A and 13 in 3-2-1A.