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Michigan High School Team State a Model for other States

Michigan's (MHSAA) Team State championship is based on the dual format. It was announced this week that they will move the next couple championships to the arena at Central Michigan University due to the fact that it outgrew the smaller venue, Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. While other states and the NCAA struggles with how to balance team and individual formats for determining team championships, Michigan's format is very successful and nobody in Michigan is asking for any points to be kept at the Individuals.

The Michigan Team State Championships is one of the best sporting events you will see anywhere with high drama. 112 lb Lee Grabowski on February 28th in front of a standing room only events center was about to be the last match of the championship dual so his Brighton High School team could win their 1st ever state championship. Standing in his way was Garnet Potter who had beaten him twice this season. With about five seconds left Grabowski was leading 4-2 and off a Potter shot locked up a front headlock for the last ticks off the clock. Even before the clock hit zero the picture above was the scene for the Brighton team and crowd. It was, like every year, an amazing scene at an amazing event. 

As a Michigan native, it's tough to wrap my head around the fact that other states don't "get" or embrace the team dual championship. To me it's an annual can't miss event. I think the proven format for the MHSAA has been part of the success to need a bigger venue. There are Districts, Regionals, and then the top 8 teams advance to the State Championships. Points from an individual tournament are never involved. It's essentially a single elimination dual tournament to determine the best team in each division. I can also attest that some of the Regional Final duals are some of the best drama you'll see in wrestling anywhere as well in front of some very awesome crowds.

A recent change in the last decade was to seed the the final 8 teams that make the quarterfinals. This basically ensures the finals are the best matches of the tournament and has helped boost attendance for the championships.

You see teams go all out to win these matches and have strategy, the energy over scoring or preventing bonus points, and the heroism of coming through for your team while it was just you and the other guy on the mat. I pity any state that doesn't have a separate dual championship on a different weekend from the individuals. I implore any high school athletic association to look at Michigan's model, because it doesn't get any better than this.