DODGE CITY — The Kansas State High School Athletics Association has agreed to relocate the 2016 Class 1A Division 1 state basketball tournament from Fort Hays State to the Civic Center in Dodge City Match 9-12.
The Class 1A-Division 2 tournaments will also be in Dodge City played at the United Wireless Arena.
The Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team has positioned itself to potentially host an NCAA regional tournament March 11-14, which would conflict with the state high school tournament. By mutual agreement of FHSU and the KSHSAA, the state tournament will be hosted at the Dodge City Civic Center by the Dodge City Sports Commission.
The 2015 Class 1A Division 2 state tournaments were played in Dodge City at the United Wireless Arena. The Class 1A D2 state tournament was previously played in Emporia’s White Auditorium.
The move comes in support of the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team and its potential to host the NCAA Central Regional. The Tiger women currently hold a record of 18-2 overall and 12-2 in the MIAA. They were ranked No. 7 in the latest WBCA Division II National Poll.
While the Class 1A Division I high school tournament is scheduled for March 9-12, the NCAA Regional dates are March 11, 12, and 14. The conflicting dates do not allow for both tournaments to run simultaneously at FHSU’s Gross Memorial Coliseum, since the NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional must be played on the dates designated by the NCAA.
In order to secure the alternate site of Dodge City in advance, the decision needed to be made prior to the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team securing the No. 1 seed in the Central Region. The NCAA regional host is not officially determined until a few days prior to the start of the state high school tournament in March.
Given the success of the FHSU women’s basketball team, the decision to make the hosting opportunity available is a show of support for the efforts and success of the FHSU women’s program. The team enters February with the top record in the Central Region against NCAA Division II competition.
Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU President, said it was unfortunate the university would not be able to accommodate both tournaments, and the decision had to be made now. “We greatly value our relationships with Kansas high schools and with the KSHSAA, and we look forward to hosting all types of high school events in the future, but obviously our first loyalty must be to our own student-athletes.”
Athletic Director Curtis Hammeke noted the long-standing relationship between FHSU and the Kansas State High School Activities Association and its staff members.
“We have worked diligently together over many years to accommodate various state events around FHSU events,” he said. “For the second straight year, however, the conflicts related to hosting the NCAA women’s basketball regional have created a set of challenges that we cannot resolve in the best interests of all involved. This decision allows us to support the outstanding accomplishments of our women’s basketball team once more, while not compromising the format of the 1A Division I high school state tournament.”