Many of the top high school wrestling teams in New York will again be on hand at Union-Endicott High School when the 31st annual U-E Duals begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Ten of the 13 teams assembled for this year’s tournament are ranked in the state by the New York State Sports Writers Association, including second-ranked Monroe-Woodbury and third-ranked Minisink Valley of Section 9 and fourth-ranked Shenendehowa of Section 2. Other state-ranked teams competing are eighth-ranked Hilton (Section 5), ninth-ranked Clarence (Section 6), 14th-ranked Spencerport (Section 5), 16th-ranked MacArthur (Section 8), 19th-ranked Burnt Hills (Section 2) as well as Section 4 programs U-E and Johnson City, both ranked 20th.
The winner will have the inside track on finishing as the top-ranked large-school wrestling team in New York. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association doesn’t hold a dual-meet tournament championship — the state team champion is determined by the final rankings of the NYSSWA — but historically the U-E Duals champion has finished as the top-ranked team.
That happened last year, as Section 8’s Wantagh defeated Section 11’s Sachem East, 35-27, to win the U-E Duals title en route to its second straight state large-school team title.
Wantagh, ranked 11th, will not be defending its title because it withdrew from the tournament Thursday along with fifth-ranked Islip of Section 11 due to the inclement weather.
The 13 teams in the two-day event will be divided into four round-robin divisions, with each division winner advancing to Sunday’s semifinals, which begin at 11 a.m. The championship match is scheduled for 3.
U-E is in Group B along with Shenendehowa and Spencerport, while JC is in Group C with Monroe-Woodbury and Brockport. U-E and JC are seeking to end a Section 4 title drought in the tournament, with JC the last Section 4 team to prevail when the Wildcats won in 2006.
Group A will feature Hilton, Clarence, and MacArthur, while Group D will have Minisink Valley, Rocky Point, Burnt Hills and North Rockland.