Chicago Sun-Times

Grappling with a problem

Dual-team tourney sometimes leaves top teams behind


It’s frustratin­g.”

But Siebert held his tongue then. “For me to complain about it then would have been sour grapes,” he said. “The fact that we were able to win and win close over a really, really good team gives me an opportunit­y to speak about it.”

And his voice should be heeded, because it hurts the state playoffs when possibly the two best Class 3A teams wind up in the same regional, meaning only one can even get to the dual-meet segment of the state series. What’s worse, this wasn’t an isolated case. The same thing has happened two straight seasons in Class 2A with the two best teams sent to the same regional: Montini and Marmion last winter, Montini and Lemont last weekend.

None of this is to say Sandburg’s a lock to take state now, or that Marist would have won it all if it was first at the regional. There are other good teams out there, including Oak Park-river Forest and Glenbard North. But we’re not going to get the state tournament we should.

“I think it’s the IHSA’S job to get the best eight teams [to state] for the athletes and the fans,” Siebert said.

A partial fix would be to bring back team regionals, which would have given us the Sandburg vs. Marist and Montini vs. Lemont matchups fans want to see and teams have worked for. But inertia is at work here and some coaches are OK with the status quo because it allows them to avoid the Sandburgs and Marists for as long as possible. Still, the team wrestling playoffs are broken and we can only hope they get fixed.

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