MHSA officials mulling options for state tournaments scheduled for Metra

2010-06-22T00:28:00Z MHSA officials mulling options for state tournaments scheduled for MetraJOHN LETASKY Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
June 22, 2010 12:28 am  • 

A number of sporting events scheduled for the 2010-11 high school season are in limbo, thanks to the tornado that caused significant damage to Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Sunday.

Organizers are patiently waiting — but talking alternatives — until they find out what’s next for the arena.

One of the events potentially affected is the state wrestling tournament. This past year was the 22nd year of the all-class format. The tourney is scheduled for Feb. 11-12, 2011 at Rimrock Auto Arena.

Montana High School Association executive director Mark Beckman said a group met Monday morning to discuss options, but added they don’t want to be “premature with any decisions” before it is decided if Metra will be renovated or rebuilt.

Beckman added that it will be discussed at the group’s September meeting, but could be addressed earlier by conference call.

“As we talked today, our board is the entity that will reassign (the events) if the Metra is unable to be renovated by that time,” Beckman said. “They will look at soliciting bids from interested facilities and communities and look to see if they can keep it in an all-class format and see if a facility can put down the amount of mats and the seating for spectators and marshals for weigh-ins and those things.”

 If that is not a possibility, Beckman said the board may look at splitting the event into three tournaments until the arena may be ready and allow bids for the events. Or, they might hold the A and B-C events at one site and the AA at a separate site.

Beckman said another possibility would be to have the three classes compete in one city on the same weekend but at different venues. The consolation matches and finals could then be wrestled under one roof at one facility.

The State A boys basketball tournament is also scheduled for March 10-12 at Rimrock Auto Arena. Beckman said the MHSA will again wait to hear from Metra general manager Bill Dutcher before making any decisions.

Beckman added that the State A boys dates could be changed, but combining the boys and girls state tournaments is not an option.

“It’s the same exact thing for State A boys basketball,” he said. “We’ll see what facilities may be available and who can solicit bids.

“We are going to keep everything open and hope they can renovate the Metra and get that going not just for our events, but it is difficult for their staff. It is a blow for them,” Beckman said. “Our thoughts are with them.”

Billings Central athletic director Tracy Scott said there are also plans for the Eastern A basketball divisional scheduled for the arena next February. One possibility is to again split the tournament with the boys playing in one Eastern A city and the girls in another on separate weekends.

Scott said the Eastern A athletic directors annually meet during the second week of August, and the issue will be discussed there.

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