Several Minnesota high school wrestling teams have withdrawn from team section tournaments due to skin issues, and in other cases section tourney schedules are being adjusted in order to allow affected teams to compete.  

 
School officials from Cambridge-Isanti, North St. Paul, Minnewaska and Benson have confirmed that their teams have been affected. Cambridge-Isanti has withdrawn from today’s Class 3A, Section 7 tournament at Coon Rapids, North St. Paul is not competing in 3A, Section 4 and Minnewaska forfeited its opening match in the 1A, Section 5 tournament earlier this week. Benson was scheduled to face Ortonville on Thursday in 1A, Section 3; that match was postponed in the hopes that Benson wrestlers would be cleared to compete, but one skin culture came back positive and Benson withdrew from the team section.
 
In all cases, school officials were hopeful that all wrestlers would be cleared to compete in individual section tournaments next week.
 
Other teams are expected to join the list, and other section team tournaments are being rescheduled in order for teams to compete. When the herpes gladitorium virus -- the virus that causes cold sores – is diagnosed, athletes are advised to avoid contact with other athletes for eight days in order to stop the spread of the virus.
 
Missing team section tournaments means schools will not have a chance to reach the state tournament in team competition, but the hopes of individual wrestlers to get to state will not be affected. The state wrestling tournament will be held March 3-6 at Xcel Energy Center.
 
Cambridge-Isanti is ranked fifth in Class 3A and was the No. 2 seed in Section 7.
 
“While this action is extremely disappointing for our wrestlers, their families, our coaching staff, and our school, we did not want to expose our opponents to any viral skin condition,” Cambridge-Isanti athletic director Mark Solberg said.
 
An eight-day period without skin-to-skin contact is recommended whenever herpes is diagnosed or suspected. The North St. Paul wrestling team is going far beyond that time frame. The Polars will resume skin-to-skin contact at practice Monday, ending 17 days of no contact a small number of team members were diagnosed with the virus.
 
Minnewaska, the sixth seed in 1A, Section 5, forfeited its first team section match against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
 
“This is the right and ethical thing to do,” said Minnewaska athletic director Bill Mills.
 
Benson athletic director Mike Knutson said, "With wrestling, you always worry about skin issues. Even if it's acne you look at it and have doctors look at it. We've had no positive cultures but we’ve been exposed. We’re erring on the side of caution."
 
Earlier this season, some teams in the Classic Suburban and West Central conferences refrained from competition due to skin issues. During the 2006-07 season, the Minnesota State High School League halted all wrestling competition statewide for eight days after athletes from several teams were diagnosed with the herpes gladitorium virus.
 
John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/stribjohn