Varsity Kansas

Intrust Bank Arena will lose high school wrestling

One of the first events at the Intrust Bank Arena was the Class 6A and 5A high school wrestling tournament in February.

But state wrestling won’t be coming back.

“They pretty well priced us out of the market to use that facility,” said Gary Musselman, the executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Musselman said expenses were triple what the KSHSAA paid to use the Kansas Coliseum. The state wrestling tournament was at the Coliseum from 1985-2005 and 2007-2009.

The KSHSAA was responsible for an $11,000 license fee, as well as for merchandising, facility, ticket printing fees and reimbursable service expenses.

“We’re actively looking at other options,” Musselman said of a future site of the tournament. “We’ve met with them and they made it very clear to us that they have no desire or ability to reduce their operating costs.

“Then they made sure to call us back and say they’d have to increase our rent. OK, so you really don’t want us to think about even being able to come back. It’s pretty clear.”

Chris Presson, Intrust Bank Arena general manager, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Heights wrestling coach Mike Church is saddened the tournament won’t be back at the downtown arena.

“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I thought it was an awesome venue.æ.æ.æ. They felt they were in a high-profile arena. It built up upon the atmosphere of the sport. It was a phenomenal place to have a state tournament.”