friday state wrestling

Wrestlers warm up on the mats before the start. Friday March 2 2012 State Wrestling Championships, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. (The Press of Atlantic City / Ben Fogletto)

Ben Fogletto

If the state individual high school wrestling championships return to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for 2013, it will have a different date.

Pop star Lady Gaga tweeted earlier this month that she will perform at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, March 2. The state wrestling championships were held at Boardwalk Hall the first weekend in March the past six years.

Boardwalk Hall general manager Greg Tesone said Tuesday the arena has offered the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association dates during the second weekend in March (March 8-10) for the 2013 wrestling championships. The NJSIAA runs the tournament and oversees New Jersey high school sports. The three-day wrestling event annual draws more nearly 40,000 fans to the Hall.

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“We spoke to (the NJSIAA) last year about which dates they would want and that (the second weekend in March) is the weekend we were told,” Tesone said.

NJSIAA executive Steve Timko could not be reached for comment Tuesday as he was out of the organization’s office in the Robbinsville section of Washington Township in Mercer County. The NJSIAA, however, is expected to soon make a decision on the site of the 2013 championships. The NJSIAA finance and executive committees will meet today. Those committees will make the decision on the event’s site.

A schedule released by the NJSIAA on Aug. 3 on its website states that the dates for the tournament will be March 1-3.

The wrestling championships used to be held the second weekend in March but the event moved to the first weekend in March in 2007, so Boardwalk Hall could host the Atlantic 10 men’s college basketball tournament. The Atlantic 10 Tournament is no longer at the Hall.

The NJSIAA’s contract with Boardwalk Hall ended last year. The NJSIAA last spring submitted requests for proposals from facilities around the state to host the event.

The NJSIAA offered the event up for bid in part because the organization is under financial duress because of a 2010 law that limits the amount of money it can charge for tickets.

The tournament has been at Boardwalk Hall every year since 1992 except for a three-year stretch from 1998-2001 when it was held at Atlantic City Convention Center and the Izod Arena in East Rutherford. Boardwalk Hall underwent a $90 million renovation during those years.

Few venues in the state are realistically large enough to hold the wrestling tournament. The arena floor needs space for eight mats. Possible venues are the Izod Arena, the Prudential Center in Newark or the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.

Tesone said the Hall wants to continue to host the event.

“It’s a great event or the city,” he said. “It’s a great event for the building. We would love to have it back and here for a long time. We think people have a great time in Atlantic City coming to this event.”

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