West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

. . . on the 25th Anniversary of "Mat Talk"

I can't believe it; this is the 25th year of "Mat Talk!"

This column became a reality in 1978 thanks to one of my heros in life - the late Mr. Bill Van Horne, former N-R Sports Editor. He gave me the opportunity to write about the sport that has been a significant part of my family heritage since 1938.

I promise you continued honesty in my thoughts about wrestling, sports and life. You may not always agree with my impressions, but I can assure you I will always speak from my heart, my life experiences, and my strong family background as a youth.

So, let's begin another season. In West Virginia, the wrestling community is continually attempting to improve the sport, be it safety, health or even fairer rules for the participants. This year we are looking at a scoring criteria for determining who receives the choice if the match reaches the 30-second tiebreaker. Below is the rule as it now stands, the rationale for changing it, and the particulars of the WV pilot study.

In truth, the present National Federation State High School Associations' (NFHS) one-minute overtime period and 30-second tiebreaker set-up is definitely a much better approach to determining the winner in a wrestling match than the old criteria system. However, "luck" is still too much of a factor in deciding who is given the "choice" in the 30-second tiebreaker with this system.

The existing Rule (6-7-1, p. 24) reads as follows:

Unfortunately, there is a serious flaw with this approach. Be it a dual meet or a tournament, a flip of the disk settles who has choice in the second period of the regulation match. Furthermore, the fortunate contestant-- winner of the toss -- selects down, hoping to escape or reverse his opponent, earning the right to choose if the match reaches the 30-tiebreaker. It doesn't matter if his adversary escapes or reverses him quicker in the third period. Needless to say, there is a defect in the present rule.

Because of this dilemma, the NFHS has granted the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC) permission to experiment with an alternative strategy for ascertaining the wrestler who will have the choice if the bout must utilize the 30-second tiebreaker.

Below are the components of this mat sport investigation regarding this dilemma:

West Virginia 2002-03 NFHS Wrestling Pilot Study

The following is the West Virginia NFHS pilot study criteria for determining who receives "choice of position" during the 30-second tiebreaker:

At the end of the season, all coaches and officials in the state of West Virginia will be canvassed in reference to their thoughts on the pilot study. The results of this investigation will be reported to both the NFHS and Wrestling USA Magazine.

Should anyone have questions regarding any aspect of this NFHS pilot study in West Virginia, contact:

Dr. Bill Welker
110 North Huron Street
Wheeling, West Virginia 26003

Mat Message
"They who are in the highest places, and have the most power, have the least liberty, because they are the most observed."
-- John Tillotson

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