The lights are turned off at the Giant Center and a spotlight follows each finalist as they walk with their coaches to the mat. Their season and career accomplishments are being annouced to a hushed crowd, and PCN cameras carrying the finals live get a closeup of each wrestler.
With the parade of champions and National Anthem done, it's time for wrestling. There's no other wrestling going on. The consolation bouts - third through seventh - have been wrestled, all the other mats have been rolled up, photographers and TV news cameramen crowd the mat jockeying for position to get the best shot.
All eyes are watching the fortunate two wrestlers at each weight who have trained hard in the offseason and during the season, cut weight, battled through deep weight classes at times and are realizing their dreams of making the finals in the best high school wrestling state in the nation.
They deserve the spotlight, but some of that spotlight has been taken away from them this year.
For the first time that many can remember, the championship finals will be wrestled at the same time as the third-, fifth- and seventh-place bouts at the Giant Center.
That's just wrong. I don't care what the reason is, that is just wrong. The wrestlers who have proven they're the best deserve to have the spotlight, the only mat on the floor and everybody watching them.
There will be a parade of champions. We got a preview of that at the Southwest Regional Class AA Tournament Saturday - three mats with the finals going on in the center mat and the third- and fifth-place finals going on beside that one. It was done there so District 7 schools could leave earlier.
Even there, the consolation bouts detracted from the championship finals. I found myself sometimes watching the consolations instead of the finals.
I'm not the only one irked by the change at states. Wrestling for Northern Bedford, Jan Clark won three state titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977, so he knows all about the state finals experience. The new format has him ready to write a letter to the PIAA.
"I think it's terrible," said Clark, who stepped down as NBC's head coach last year and is an assistant for Brian Dutchcot now. "It's degrading for our finalists for one thing. Kids work their butts off all season and maybe their whole career just to win a state title, and then they turn around and not feature them as the main people. I just don't think it's right for our sport.
"I don't know why they can be doing such a thing. I hear rumors that it's because of cleaning up and getting ready for the AAAs, but that's pretty sad after we've done it for how many years."
Clark says wrestling before a large crowd with all of the attention on that one mat is special.
"I can think back to the times when I won my state titles, with the people standing up and cheering - not just our fans but people appreciating a good match," Clark said. "I would be devastated if I was in some of these kids' shoes. It would take a lot away from it.
"In college, they put the kids up on a raised platform and they make it a big deal because it is a big deal. That's exactly what they should be doing in the state of Pennsylvania."
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at email@example.com. He can be followed on Twitter at ToddIrwin1.