Ford Field will serve as the host site of the high school individual wrestling state finals next season, the MHSAA announced Tuesday.
The event will take place over two days, a change in format from the previous three-day setup. Since 2002, the tournament has taken place at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which is expected to close before next season. The changes were approved by the MHSAA Representative Council during its annual spring meeting this week in Glen Arbor.
Ford Field, which has hosted the MHSAA football state championships since 2005, will be configured for placement of up to 20 mats. Seating will be configured to hold an estimated 24,000 patrons in the lower bowl. The 2018 tournament schedule will be adjusted to begin with four rounds on Friday, March 2 and end with five rounds on Saturday, March 3.
The previous format included one round on the first day and four rounds on the second and third days. Ford Field, home to the Detroit Lions, is contracted to host the individual wrestling tournament for 2017-18, but it’s possible the event remains there after next season.
“We are excited to expand our existing relationship with the MHSAA to host the individual wrestling finals at Ford Field in 2018,” Detroit Lions senior vice president of business development Kelly Kozole said in a MHSAA news release. “Since opening the stadium in 2002, it’s been an honor to host the MHSAA football championships and a pleasure to see many MHSAA alumni come back to Ford Field as NFL players. As a professional sports franchise, we have the utmost appreciation for the significant role high school athletics play in the community and will continue to embrace opportunities to support them.”