Moments before the finals of the 2019 Junior National freestyle finals (Photo/David Peterson, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)
USA Wrestling has announced that the 2020 U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U National Championships at the Fargodome on the campus of North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D. has been canceled.
The competition, recognized as the largest wrestling tournament in the world, had been scheduled for July 17-24.
With input from its state leadership as well as its COVID-19 Special Committees, USA Wrestling believes that this is the responsible thing to do in order to maintain the long term viability of the sport. As has been the case since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the health and safety of USA Wrestling members and the entire wrestling community remains the No. 1 priority for the organization.
Based upon information currently available, it was not feasible or prudent to host a major national championship in July, where participants will come from all different areas in the nation, many of which have vastly different local situations concerning COVID-19. High-performance experts indicate that it takes up to eight weeks to prepare for high-level competition, a factor which also went into the decision.
This year would have marked the 50th year that the Junior Nationals (high school) portion of the event had been held, with the first Junior Nationals hosted in Iowa City, Iowa in 1971.
USA Wrestling has either postponed or canceled 21 national or regional events since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
USA Wrestling has consistently stated that the expected progression of wrestling activity will likely begin locally, based upon health and government regulations, then move on to state, regional and national activity.
With that in mind, USA Wrestling will focus on the working with its state association leadership to consider local, state and regional competitions in the upcoming months.
Any such activity will only be possible when held under the guidelines set by local and state health authorities and in compliance with the safety measures being developed for the sport.
On May 14, USA Wrestling published its "Return to the Mat Guidelines" document, which are guidelines and recommendations for the wrestling community as it makes decisions on a local level regarding when and how to safely resume wrestling activity. USA Wrestling is expecting to release its Return to Competition Guidelines document in the coming week.