BILLINGS— Thursday is traditionally a place holder for check-ins, weigh-ins and warm-ups at Montana's All-Class State Wrestling Tournament. But not anymore.
High school girls are taking center stage with their opening rounds on Thursday at First Interstate Arena after the addition of girls-only wrestling a year ago. Last year due to COVID-19 protocols, the girls wrestled at Lockwood High School while boys were dispersed to venues across Montana.
This year's girls will decide state champions in 11 weight classes with 242 girls are entered. Because the sport is in its second year as a pilot program, any girl who wrestled this regular season is eligible. Only seven weight classes showcase enough athletes (more than 16) to open early rounds on Thursday.
Girls teams can enter an unlimited number of wrestlers per weight class, though only their top two scorers will count in team standings.
Kalispell Flathead won last year's team title followed by Billings Senior's girls.
The boys begin their state tournament on Friday with first round action at 10:20 a.m. Girls also scheduled to start at 10:20 a.m. following the 10 a.m. Parade of Athletes.