Wrestling Tourney Leaves Battle Creek
Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena has hosted the State Team Wrestling Finals ever since they started in 1988. Last February’s tournament will be the last one.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) announced today that they’re dumping Battle Creek for Central Michigan University. The decision was made last Friday at the MHSAA’s Representative Council annual Winter Meeting.
Recently, Battle Creek lost the right to host state baseball and softball tournaments to Michigan State University. Individual wrestling moved several years ago. Only the state volleyball tournaments are left.
“We are grateful to the athletic directors, staff and volunteers whose time and energy factored heavily into creating and growing the Team Wrestling Finals at Kellogg Arena,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “The decision to move from Battle Creek was not an easy one. However, we believe CMU offers us a fantastic opportunity to continue growing one of our most popular championship events.”
The Team Wrestling Finals will be hosted by McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant for two years beginning with the 2016 tournament. McGuirk, formerly Rose Arena, is part of the CMU Events Center and reopened in 2010 after the facility underwent $22.5 million in renovations. McGuirk seats 4,867 fans for wrestling competitions, and the building also features adjacent practice areas that will be utilized by teams competing at the MHSAA Finals.
Terry Newton, who works for the Battle Creek Parks and Recreation department, says he’s not totally surprised at the decision. “Even though Battle Creek’s facilities are well-maintained, it’s difficult to compete with these new multi-million dollar facilities at major Universities. The Universities didn’t pursue these types of events until recent years, and now they look at them as an important marketing tool to attract students.”
Newton says he thinks the volleyball tournament will stay in Battle Creek for now, as the November event might conflict with College Basketball schedules, but he says he wouldn’t be shocked to see the event move eventually.