West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on All-State and All-American Honors

One of the beauties of wrestling is the fact that there can be no doubt as to which matman is the best in his division.

First of all, unlike such games as football, basketball, and baseball, the mat sport does not entail a "selection system" for individual honors. No sportswriters' or coaches' polls are taken to determine the "#1" grappler in each weight category (whether it be high school or college). A champion in wrestling truly earns his title.

Secondly, the size of the institution makes no difference, or the size of the wrestling team. If a boy hailed from the smallest school in his division, he could still be declared the premier wrestler in his weight class by the process of tournament elimination, not election.

Now don't misunderstand me regarding polls. I sincerely believe that sportswriters and coaches do an outstanding job in picking their respective all-state or national teams. Still, no has to wonder:
Has anyone been overlooked?
Did personalities come into play (Some athletes are more charismatic than others.)?
Were the big schools given preference?

Consider this final point. Let's say West Liberty State College had the finest "running back" in the country. Would he receive his just reward? I don't think so. His chances of winning the "Heisman Trophy" would be about as good as a snowball's chances in Helen's stove. So, my friends, wrestling (like most individual sports) has a gift to offer its participants--the opportunity to accomplish "greatness" via one's own efforts and not through the votes of others.

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Updated August 4, 1997