West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

Stalling - the curse of all wrestling officials!

Now that I have retired from high school officiating, I can share with my readers a few unique experiences I have had in reference to stalling.

The Perfect Stall

In the finals of a Christmas Tournament a number of years ago, I was never more sure of a wrestler stalling. The wrestlers were in the neutral position when Wrestler A shot a double leg, and Wrestler B countered and spun behind for the takedown.

At this point, Wrestler A decided to stall. In fact, he placed himself in a fetal-like position. Being an official who was more conservative with his stalling calls, I gave Wrestler A some time to readjust and start moving. He never did.

For once, in my 25 years of officiating, I was absolutely sure of a stalling call. With all the confidence of my many years of wrestling experience, I thrust my fisted hand in the air, expecting no complaints from anybody in the gym.

To my chagrin, Wrestler A's coach comes running out on the mat screaming at me. I was about to kick him out of the facility when he angrily informed me that his wrestler was knocked out. And so he was.

Apparently, the only two people that did not know the boy was comatose were yours truly and my assistant (whose name I will withhold to protect his officiating reputation).

Of course, I sheepishly informed the scorekeeper to erase the warning for stalling.

From that match to the end of my officiating career, I cringed whenever I had to raise a clenched hand in the air.

Stalling and the Left-Handed Compliment

During the second round of another competitive tournament, I had another unusual stalling encounter with a wrestler and coach.

The match for the first two periods was very uneventful with Wrestler A dominating the match. In fact, at the conclusion of the second stanza, Wrestler A was leading 10 to 1.

Then for some reason, Wrestler A decided to rest on his laurels. Yes, he began to stall blatantly. Within a matter of 45 seconds, I warned Wrestler A and penalized him twice for stalling. Anybody who has seen me officiate, knows it is an aberration for me to call stalling so swiftly.

At this point, Wrestler A's coach did the unexpected. With Wrestler A still winning by a score of 10-3, his coach threw in the towel and defaulted the match to Wrestler B. I was shocked, but I was soon to be taken aback even more when I heard what the coach said to his wrestler.

As best as my memory serves me, he shouted to his matman, "If that ref' calls you for stalling, you ain't doin' sh~#! Get off the mat!"


I have committed many officiating misdemeanors in my 25-year stint on the mats, but next week I will tell you of my two greatest officiating felonies now that the 7-year statue of limitations has long passed.

The Near Fall

Only the top or offensive wrestler can score near-fall points. He can do so by forcing his opponent (the defensive wrestler) into any of the following positions:

1) The defensive wrestler is in a high bridge situation.
2) The defensive wrestler is leaning back on his elbows with his shoulders facing the mat.
3) The defensive wrestler is exposing both his shoulders to the mat within four inches or less contact with the mat surface.
4) The defensive wrestler has one shoulder in contact with the mat and the other shoulder at a 45-degree position from the mat or less.

The offensive wrestler can score two match points by holding the defensive wrestler in any of the previously discussed positions for two seconds.

If the offensive wrestler is able to control the defensive wrestler in any of the previous positions for five continuous seconds, he would be awarded three match points.

The official usually indicates the presence of such near-fall situations by making an angular sweep of his arm, with each sweep indicating one second of back exposure. The referee will not signal any match points until the near-fall situation is terminated.

Also note, a near-fall can still be awarded if both shoulders of the defensive wrestler remain partially in-bounds or just one shoulder is completely in-bounds.

The half-nelson, arm-bar series, cradle, and three-quarter nelson are common pinning situations that can score near-fall points as well as the pin or fall, concluding the match - which is next week's rules discussion.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Utilizing a half nelson, Wrestler A forces Wrestler B to a high bridge on his head for four seconds before Wrestler B was able to turn over on his stomach. Then Wrestler A quickly caught Wrestler B in a cradle and placed him placed him in another near-fall situation for over five seconds before the end of the period buzzer sounded. How many near-fall points would Wrestler A receive?

A: Five match points. He would received two match points for the half nelson, which was held for less than five seconds. Then Wrestler A earned three match points for holding the cradle near-fall for five seconds before the period ran out.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior

Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Shadyside's K. J. Furbee. The Tiger senior wrestler reached the century mark, reaching his 100 victory and 130-pound championship at the St. Clairsville Best Value Tournament.

Furbee's past accomplishments include a 130-pound 5th place finish at the 2005 OVAC Championships, 2nd at the Ohio Sectionals, and 5th place in the Ohio Districts.

Congratulations are extended to K. J. Furbee - this week's OVAC Wrestling Warrior.

Mat Message

"Things may come to those that wait, but only things left by those who hustle."
-- Abraham Lincoln

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)
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Updated March 25, 1999