AUGUSTA — After a one-year hiatus, Maine high school wrestling will return to the mats for the 2021-22 season.

After a meeting of the MPA’s Sport Medicine Advisory Committee and Interscholastic Management Committee, it unanimously was approved wrestling would return, though it also was decided student-athletes who participate in the sport must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

However, in the most recent developments cited in the Portland Press Herald, MPA officials have stated they will reexamine that decision.

Wrestling currently is the only MPA-sanctioned sport that requires, not recommends, student-athletes be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

“There was a discussion about holding off on the season until transmission rates subsided,” said MPA Executive Director Mike Burnham. “But this same group of athletes missed their entire season a year ago and the feeling was that allowing the vaccinated athletes to get started would be better than a delay for all of the wrestling athletes.”

Last year, the high school wrestling season initially was pushed back by the MPA in hopes COVID-19 transmission rates would subside, though the season eventually was canceled in February.

Burnham said the MPA is working with state health officials on final recommendations and “we will release an official document once those recommendations have been approved.”

The Sports Medicine Advisory Committee also met with the chairpersons of other high school winter sports committees to discuss the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. No definitive decisions have been made for indoor track, ice hockey and swimming as many of those sports take place at various venues that may have specific guidelines in place as it pertains to athletes, coaches and spectators.

The first date of the winter sports season is Monday, Nov. 22.

MaineStay Media/VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com.

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