Prep Wrestling

Coaches not all on board with weight class changes

2011-12-02T22:30:00Z 2012-11-23T00:56:04Z Coaches not all on board with weight class changesBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
December 02, 2011 10:30 pm  • 

Back in April, the wrestling rules committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations approved an upward shift of weight classes, a move made to reflect nationwide data of nearly 200,000 wrestlers over a period of three to four years.

Local coaches have their doubts about the numbers.

"I'm not buying it," Crown Point coach Scott Vlink said. "I don't think most schools can field solid kids in the upper weights. We're going to have a difficult time doing that, and our school population is 2,500 students. What in the world is a small school going to do? I think most high school kids fall in the middle-weight category and they reduced it there. I don't get it. If the idea is getting more football players out, that's not happening anymore."

The committee's goal was to create classes with approximately seven percent of the wrestlers in each weight. Based on the information gathered, 10 of the 14 existing positions were changed, with 145, 152, 160 and heavyweight (285) staying the same. The lightest weight is now 106, up three pounds, followed by 113, 120, 126, 132 and 138. A class was added up top, where it is now 170, 182, 195 and 220.

"It forces teams to have an extra bigger guy in their lineup," Munster coach Dan Gelarden said. "From a coach's standpoint, it makes it more important that you keep more upperclassmen around to fill those spots and constantly be watching that in your program."

Gelarden doesn't foresee much influence on his team, though Calumet coach Jim Wadkins and LaPorte's Louis Kuzdas find themselves with similar dilemmas. Both have rosters that are thin up top with more kids in the middle weights.

"It has affected us somewhat negatively," Wadkins said. "We at Calumet have historically struggled to fill the lower and upper weights. This change has left us with a couple lettermen having to challenge for one weight class in the middle, where there were two last season, leaving him out of the lineup and serving as the backup for a couple of weights. It has also forced us to put a couple of very inexperienced young men into the upper weight classes, classes usually dominated by upperclassmen and football players."

For very small schools such as Hebron, the whole process is really a moot point.

"Going into the sectional last year, we gave up five weight classes because of numbers," Hebron coach Todd Adamczyk said. "Today, we still give up five weights. Being a fairly new program, our growing pains outweigh the changes to the weight classes."

The last wholesale shift in weight classes occurred in 1988, when the lowest class was increased from 98 to 103. The only other changes since then were in 2002, when the number of classes went from 13 to 14 and the 215-pound class became mandatory, and in 2006, when the 275-pound class was increased to 285.

Vlink's not so sure this switch will be set in stone.

"There are people who think it could be a one-year deal," he said.

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