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Winter state high school championships are still a full go in Washington, but not without modifications due to the current COVID-19 surge. 

The WIAA executive board approved a series of changes Monday to culminating events in six sports in order to “maximize the opportunities for participation” and comply with the Washington State Department of Health, the state association said in a press release.

The changes limit close contact and reflect an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, which is spiking because of the more contagious Omicron variant.

Mat Classic will go on as planned at the Tacoma Dome and regionals the week before the annual event, hosted in the Tacoma Dome, will remain in tact — warm news in the Washington high school wrestling community after more than 100 cases were linked to meets around the state in December, which caused a temporary pause on the sport and threatened the viability of an event like Mat Classic.

Boys and girls basketball state tournaments were not addressed, but are still scheduled for March 2-5 across three locations statewide — the Tacoma Dome (3A, 4A), the Yakima SunDome (1A, 2A) and the Spokane Arena (1B, 2B).

Here are the approved changes:


The WIAA has implemented several changes in order to minimize contact and floor traffic at Mat Classic, which is set for Feb. 18 and 19. Only finalists can participate in the parade of champions, practice sessions on Thursday have been canceled and cheerleaders will be limited to spectator areas. Notably, it did not decide to cancel regionals, as was previously discussed. 


Diving preliminary rounds have been moved to Thursday, Feb. 17 because of a lack of life guards that means only two of the pools can be used at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. The event will continue as scheduled on Feb. 18 and 19.


The board voted to get rid of the individual finals, changing the typically three-day event to two days — Friday, Feb. 25 (2A/3A) and 26 (4A) at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School. Individual champions will be determined by one performance. 


The closing ceremonies and team parade has been canceled and will instead be presented virtually. The event takes place Feb. 4 and 5 at Battle Ground High School.


It’s usually closed out of courtesy, but the walkway on the court and will be open and spectators allowed to sit one the same side as participants to encourage spreading out at the Yakima SunDome on March 25 and 26. 

(Lead photo by Vince Miller)