West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer

"Weight Class Eligibility: A Ball of Confusion"

There has been some misunderstandings as to which weight classes a wrestler is eligible to compete, especially when weight allowances are given. Let's begin by first reading the rule.

"A wrestler who weighs in for one weight class may be shifted to the next highest weight class, provided it is not more than one weight class above that for which the actual weight qualifies. The exact weight of all contestants shall be recorded and submitted to the official scorer." (Rule 1, Section 2, Article 5 on page 9 of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Book)

Keep in mind, a wrestler can only wrestle ONE weight class higher than the weight class he is eligible to compete at in that match. In other words, a wrestler can only compete at two weight classes, and no more.

Now I am going to try to make this as simple as possible. We are going to use the 103-pound weight class as an example.

Let's say the coach has a 103-pounder (Wrestler A) who often has to wrestle at 119 pounds. At the beginning of the season, there is no weight allowance. In order to wrestle at 119 pounds, Wrestler A must weigh over 103 pounds.

Each state has their own weight allowance policies. In West Virginia, the mat men receive their two-pound allowance on Christmas day.

Now back to Wrestler A. The coach decides to wrestle him at 119 pounds for the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament in which there are three weigh-ins. Note, a pound is added on the second and third days of the event. At Thursday's first weigh in Wrestler A must weigh over 105 pounds, on Friday Wrestler A must weigh in over 106 pounds, and on Saturday he must weigh over 107 pounds.

Why? Let me explain.

To repeat myself, a wrestler can only be eligible for two weight classes. On Friday, Wrestler A weighed in at 105.5 pounds. The official said, "Well, Wrestler A is over 105 pounds, so he can wrestle at 119 pounds." WRONG!

Since on Friday another pound was allowed (making the weight class 106), if the official permitted Wrestler A (weighing 105.5 pounds) to wrestle at 119 pounds, this would make him eligible for three weight classes: 106, 115, 122 (103, 112 & 119 plus three pounds).

That can't happen.

The same would be true if Wrestler A weighed 106.5 pounds on Saturday; he couldn't wrestle at 123 (119 plus four pounds).

An easy way to understand this weight-class situation is whenever weight allowance is given to each weight category, think of it as an entirely new weight class. Thus, on Saturday of the OVAC tournament, the new weight class for 103 would be 107 pounds. If he planned on competing at 123 pounds, Wrestler A would have to weigh over 107 pounds.

I hope this explanation has been of some assistance to you. However, if you should still have any further questions regarding this matter, do not hesitate to e-mail me at mattalkwv@hotmail.com.
You will receive an expedient response.

Illegal Holds

The best definition I have come across for an illegal holds is "any maneuver used that could cause bodily harm, intentionally or not."

Examples of illegal moves include: full nelson, back bows, headlocks (without an arm encircled), forceful trips, pulling a thumb or less than four fingers, restricting breathing and/or circulation, and any holds used for punishment alone.

The penalties for illegal holds are assessed in the following order:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification

It is important to note that a wrestler who applies a legal hold shall not be penalized if his opponent turns it into an illegal hold.

Also, whenever possible, illegal moves should be prevented by an official rather than penalized. Unfortunately, the official often is not afforded the opportunity to intercede because the illegal maneuver happens so fast.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A applies an illegal full nelson to Wrestler B just before the final buzzer sounds to end the match. Wrestler A held a 12-5 lead at the time but this was his fourth illegal hold of the match. What will the referee do?
A: The official will disqualify Wrestler A, and Wrestler B would be declared the winner.

OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior

Coach Joe Thomas OVAC Wrestling Warrior of the Week is Shadyside's Johhny Merryman, who wrestles at 160 pounds. This "Tiger" grappler has won the Union Local, St. Clairsville (MVP), and the Shadyside Invitationals. Most recently, Merryman was crowned 2009 champion at the Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament.

Johnny Merryman was also a 2008 Ron Mauck OVAC champion at 152 pounds, and has placed in the OVACs four years in a row. A two-time qualifier for the Ohio State Championships, his record this season is 23-0, and he has an overall record of 129-29.

Congratulations are extended to Shadyside's Johnny Merrymen - this week's OVAC Joe Thomas Wrestling Warrior.

OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fan of the Week

The OVAC Mark Gerrity Wrestling Fans of the Week is Shadyside's Tom Merrymen. Tom has been a staunch supporter of the "Tiger" program for over three decades. He has promoted the program from the youth league to the high school levels.

The Deaton-Regis Weekly Dual Meet Predictions

Larry Deaton and Jack Regis, two of the Valley's finest mat officials are competing with each other this season, picking the winners of selected matches.

This week's dual meets featured matches are Parkersburg South at John Marshall and Harrison Central at Steubenville, both matches on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Deaton picks Parkersburg South over John Marshall 45-21 and Harrison Central defeating Steubenville 38-20. Regis calls Parkersburg South beating John Marshall 39-24 and Steubenville over Harrison Central 30-29.

Mat Message

"To believe with certainty, we must begin with doubting."
- Stanislaus I

(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)

Return to the West Virginia Mat Thoughts Index Page
Return to the WV-Mat front page