Wrestling for the 2020-21 season at Brusly High School will include a long list of new limitations, protocols and procedures.
Even so, it beats the alternative for high school mat squads during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a year when the pandemic threatened cancellation of all seasons, head coach Jimmy Bible said he is grateful that the Louisiana High School Athletic Association did not cancel it.
COVID restrictions for wrestling regulate gym size, the crowd in the facility and mandates that only the participating wrestlers can attend the tournaments.
It also requires that all wrestlers wear facemasks and for hand sanitizer to be placed on the table adjacent to the mat.
The LHSAA also wanted each team to require each wrestler to change singlets and shower between matches. The Brusly squad and others have instead chosen to use body wipes for post-match wipe-downs.
“We have a pretty good number of singlets but changing them after every match is not really practical,” Bible said. “As long as kids don’t test positive or have fever or have been exposed, things will be alright.”
The season has gotten off to a slow start, due largely to absence of many grapplers who are still in the midst of football season.
It put a damper on Brusly’s appearance in a tournament at Archbishop Rummel. The number of players still in football left the squad with mostly backup grapplers. Andrew Trahan, a state title winner at the 2020 meet in Bossier City, was the only starter at the event.
The late start to the football season will leave Brusly and other mat squads with a limited number of experienced grapplers until December.
“I think we should’ve pushed the season back to December and go from December until January,” Bible said. “But once we get through this, we will be okay.”
The Panthers will host a six team-tournament Saturday. Other teams include Catholic-Baton Rouge, Comeaux, Lafayette, Live Oak and St. Amant.
The state tournament for this season will take place in February at the Baton Rouge River Center, following the relocation from the CenturyLink Arena in Bossier City.