After Northwest Conference boys’ wrestling teams reported a higher number of skin infections this week, league athletic directors took precautionary measures by canceling dual wrestling matches scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27 and Friday, Jan. 29.
Longtime Blaine wrestling coach Craig Foster couldn’t say what exact skin infections teams were dealing with or what specific teams were affected, but the Borderites coach said it’s common for teams to battle skin ailments throughout the season.
However, Foster couldn’t recall a time wrestling was canceled league wide.
“It’s pretty rare,” Foster said. “I have never seen a bunch of schools cancel at the same time and so close to the postseason. ... I think if you sense more of an infection right now close to the end of the year, it’s reason enough to pull the plug for a week.”
Some of the common skin infections wrestlers contract, Foster said, are impetigo, staph, ringworm and in some rare cases various strains of herpes.
Blaine’s program, Foster said, goes to great lengths to ensure wrestlers are clean. The Borderites coach mops the mats himself, does four loads of laundry a day to have clean shirts and shorts everyday for practice and is constantly monitoring his wrestlers’ skin conditions. Blaine recently spent $2,500 for soap in the showers, mat cleaners and other various tools to help keep its wrestlers as clean as possible.
Foster estimated the cancellation of this week’s dual matches will allow next week’s sub-regional tournaments to go on as planned.