By John Bassetti
Fitch High wrestling coach Brett Powell will begin a three-year term as president of the Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association during the state tournament in Columbus next month.
Powell, in his 26th season as Fitch’s head coach, was elected by Association members at a fall meeting.
“Yeah, it’s a pretty big deal,” said the 51-year-old Powell. “You have to work with OHSAA on rules that go into effect for the upcoming season and for long-term plans,” he said.
“It’s prestigious,” Powell said of the wrestling coaches association presidency. His organization works hand-in-hand with OHSAA in almost every wrestling-related issue in Ohio.
Powell revealed that, starting in the 2013-14 season, a dual-meet season with a dual-meet championship will be instituted.
“It’ll be like basketball,” Powell said, “where everybody’s allowed into the tournament. It’s taken about 10 years to come to fruition.”
He said it takes so long because schools must clear dates and get teams and schedules set.
“Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and California, too, have done it for years, but Ohio’s been waiting,” he said. “I give OHSAA a big salute for opening up to compete for state team title.”
The current state tournament format, however, won’t be affected because the dual-meet championship would wrap up the week prior to the start of sectionals.
The state dual meet finals will be at St. John Arena. A month later, the traditional tourney will be across the street at Schottenstein.
“An entire team can wrestle for the state championship,” Powell said, “then if there’s an individual who’s exceptional, he can bring home a title, too.”
The possibility of an individual being part of three state titles in one season exists if that wrestler’s school starts by winning the dual-meet title, followed by that individual winning his weight class at the traditional state tournament where his team also accumulates the most points.
There’s never been a true total-team championship, he said.
“There was one out there, but they never got to prove it at the end of the year,” Powell said of the coaches association’s calculations, based on points from the previous year and only for eight teams.
“This will be open to all. I think it’ll attract fans and rejuvenate interest.”
Powell said that about 440 schools around Ohio participate.
Powell, a former state wrestling champion from West Branch who has 29 years total in coaching, teaches business marketing at Fitch.