High school wrestling weight classes will change for next season

NFHS Board approves upward shift in weight classes, starting with 106 pounds

April 26, 2011|By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun

When the 2011-12 high school wrestling season rolls around, coaches are going to have to cope with a number of changes, including major modifications to one of the most basic rules — weight class designations.

Officials at the National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors calls it the "most significant changes" to high school wrestling weight classes in 23 years.

The NFHS Board approved an upward shift in weights. There will no longer be a 103-pound class. Instead the weights will begin at 106 pounds. That change results in new weights for 10 of the 14 classes.

The 14 weight classes approved by the committee are: 106 pounds, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Three middle-weight classes — 145, 152 and 160 — were retained, as was the highest weight — 285 pounds.

The news was met with mixed feelings from local coaches.

"I don't like it," said Owings Mills coach Guy Pritzker. "It is going to help some kids and hurt some. I have a little kid, an excellent wrestler, who weights 80 pounds, who we were hoping could gain a few pounds and compete at 103. Now, that's not going to work. But they made the change because a lot of coaches have trouble filling the 103 slot. Most coaches have bigger kids. Now it appears they'll have an extra big kid."

Centennial coach Dave Roogow agreed with Pritzker.

"I don't mind them closing the upper weights," Roogow said. "But I think a lot of kids will be hurt by the change from 103 to 106. I think they should have gone back to having a 98-pound class, but they don't like that because they think it encourages kids to cut weight."

At Archbishop Curley and John Carroll, the view was different.

"I'm thinking about my lineup and this change could be good," said Curley coach Greg Kessler. "It will hurt the light, 95-pound wrestler, but I think it brings some excitement to our sport. Weight class changes happened to me while I was in college and it refreshed everyone who used to have to cut weight. Now these kids have an extra pound to work with.

"Avery Williams is a natural 187 pounds, but at the end of the year, he was wrestling for me at 215. He'll be perfect at 195. I think the change could help get bigger kids out. They won't feel like they're the only big guy among all these munchkins. They'll have an extra weight class and another big guy to practice with."

John Carroll coach Keith Watson said he feels for the wrestlers in the lighter weights who may have to continue wrestling in a junior program for an additional year. But he also pointed out that the impact on the higher weights will make competition more fair.

"We had weight classes at 171, 189 and 215," Watson said. "I think the weight span in those classes were too much. I think this will be good for almost everyone in the long run."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

The original version of this article misidentified Centennial coach Dave Roogow's school and mistakenly identified the 98-pound weight class as the 95-pound weight class. The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

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