First-game of season, tournament dates set for high school winter sports

Westwood’s Alana Nuorala, right, gets Bark River-Harris’ Daniel Dani in a hold during their 119-pound match at an MHSAA Division 4 wrestling individual district tournament held at Westwood High School on Feb. 15. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

By Journal Sports Staff

EAST LANSING — The MHSAA Representative Council set dates Thursday for the various key events in five winter sports considered indoor “contact” sports.

Those sports are boys and girls basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer.

This Saturday was previously announced as the first day allowed for practices, a date reconfirmed in a press release issued by the high school sports group on Wednesday.

But other key dates, including the first day of competition and tournament dates, hadn’t been firmly established.

“Noncontact” sports — swimming and diving, gymnastics and bowling — got the go-ahead on Wednesday to also begin practice Saturday with first dates of competition as soon as the following Saturday, Jan. 22.

The schedule reflects this week’s extension to Feb. 1 of an order made by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to try to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The MHSAA’s Representative Council consists of 19 people who represent member schools, including athletic directors, principals and assistant principals, and superintendents and deputy superintendents. There is also a member from the staff of the Michigan Department of Education.

Three members are from the Upper Peninsula, including Marquette Senior High School athletic director Alex Tiseo. The other two from the U.P. are Calumet assistant principal and athletic director Sean Jacques and St. Ignace superintendent Don Gustafson.

Girls and boys basketball will run on nearly parallel tracks, the only difference will be that each round of their tournaments will be a day apart in March and April.

While practices can begin Saturday, they can only be noncontact in nature until Feb. 1, when they can switch to contact.

The first games for both genders can be played Thursday, Feb. 4.

Girls district tournaments will be held on March 22, 24 and 26, a Monday, Wednesday and Friday; while boys will be March 23, 25 and 27, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the same week.

The following week will be regionals, the girls on Monday and Wednesday, March 29 and 31; with the boys on Tuesday and Thursday, March 30 and April 1.

For the girls, quarterfinals are April 5, semifinals on April 7 and state finals on Friday, April 9, while the boys quarters are April 6, semis on April 8 and state finals on Saturday, April 10.

The other three sports can also begin full-contact practices on Feb. 1, while their tourneys are set to start March 15.

For hockey, teams can also play games beginning Feb. 1, with regionals running March 15-20, quarterfinals on March 23, semifinals on March 25-26 and the state finals on Saturday, March 27.

Wrestling’s first meets can be Feb. 8, districts from March 15-20, regionals March 22-28, state team championships on Wednesday, March 31, and state individual finals on Friday and Saturday, April 2-3.

Competitive cheer also allows their first meets on Feb. 8, with districts March 15-20, regionals March 22-24 and the state finals on Friday and Saturday, March 26-27.

The Representative Council took into account that nearly two-thirds of member schools have their spring break from March 29-April 4, with the rest going April 5-11.

The state group also OK’d spring sports to continue with traditional dates, with first practices March 15.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@