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home : columns : joel alvstad May 29, 2016

3/13/2013 11:37:00 AM
There should be only one champion

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

In last week's paper, I wrote about one of the real positive experiences I witnessed at the State Wrestling Tournament.
This week, I unfortunately have to turn to something that wasn't as positive.
In the Class AAA team championship match, top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville and second-seeded Apple Valley wound up in a tie.
Now, if this were a regular-season match, a section match or even a first- or second-round state match, the list of tiebreaker criteria would be used to break the tie.
But in the state finals, the tiebreaker criteria are thrown out and co-champions are crowned.
Why? Why is it that wrestling is different than any other sport?
If a Prep Bowl game is tied after regulation, they play overtime.
If a basketball game is tied after regulation, they play overtime.
If a hockey game is tied, they play overtime.
If a baseball or softball game is tied, they go to extra innings.
But in wrestling and golf, where there are tiebreaking criteria built into dual meet competition, they decide to crown co-champions rather than use the tiebreaker criteria.
This obviously isn't the first time it's happened. Prior to this, Frazee and Jackson County Central tied for the state Class A wrestling title just a few years ago. Prior to that, Frazee and Canby had tied for a state title.
And in golf, the Luverne girls wound up sharing the title with a team a few years ago. Luverne would have won on the fifth-score tiebreaker.
It would be unthinkable to end a state hockey championship game after a regulation tie. It would be unthinkable to end a Prep Bowl game with a tie.
It should be equally unthinkable that a state championship wrestling match or golf tournament should end with co-champions.
For kids who have worked, in many cases, their whole lives for a shot to be called 'champion,' they deserve the right to not have to be called 'co-champion.'

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