Mat Talk - Rules changes shall protect wrestlers

December 02, 1998|By MARILYN JANUS AND TOM JANUS / Staff Correspondents

Mat Talk - Rules changes shall protect wrestlers

[wrestling rankings]

What a difference a word makes.

Responding to last season's tragic college casualties, the National Federation of High Schools has modified its Wrestling Rules to now state: "for health and safety reasons, a state's weight-control program SHALL require each wrestler to establish a certified minimum weight sometime prior to January 15 and prohibit certification at a lower weight during the season." In this case, the word "shall" has replaced "should."

"The revision of the language used in this rule reflects the committee's desire to put some teeth into the high school weight-control program," said Fritz McGinness, associate director of the NFHS and editor of the high school wrestling rules. "In addition, this revision will now require all state associations to follow this rule."

The word "sportsmanship" is addressed in three separate rules revisions. A wrestler's unsportsmanlike conduct, or flagrant misconduct, may be penalized even during "bad" time (time erroneously run off the clock, which is added to the end of a match). Unsportsmanlike or flagrant misconduct of coaches may now be penalized regardless of when it occurs - whether before, during or after a match. Even spectators who act in an unsportsmanlike manner may now be removed from the premises for the remainder of the event.


Finally, wrestlers must deal with a new definition of the word "timeout." Competitors are now entitled to maximum injury or illness time of one and one-half minutes, which is cumulative throughout the match. Two time-outs will be allowed per bout. On the second timeout, the wrestler's opponent will get his choice of position on the restart - up, down or neutral. (If this occurs during tiebreakers, there is no choice of position). These revisions do not affect the five-minute bleeding time rule.

These changes can produce only positive results. Wrestlers will now have to depend on fitness rather than "sucking down" to win their weight class, at any level. Wrestlers not in six-minute shape can no longer use injury time to recover from "instant lung disease."

Conditioning is the real winner of these rules revisions. Fortunately, there is no safer wrestler than a well-conditioned one.

As for actually enforcing the notion that adults set a good example for kids ... what took them so long?

Mat movers

* Local referee Rick Hare was honored as "Official of the Year" at the Maryland State Wrestling Association's 8th Annual Johnny K. Eareckson Memorial Bullroast on Nov. 15. Hare was recognized as an individual who "not only knows all the rules, but who has the respect of every wrestler, coach and spectator."

We agree.

* After an absence of several seasons, Musselman High School is re-starting its wrestling program. Mark Cagle, WVU's first All-American, who holds the university takedown record, will resume his former duties as head coach, assisted by Shawn Martz. Cagle, who was head coach prior to the program being dropped, coached Martz, the Eastern Panhandle's first two-time state champ, prior to coaching in Virginia. How 'bout them apples?

* Jason Seville, a senior at Berkeley Springs High School, is the only Tri-State area wrestler named an Academic All-American for 1998 by the National High School Coaches Association. Seville, who placed third at 145 pounds at last year's West Virginia Class AA/A states, earned a 4.25 GPA.

* That familiar face (and body) on the cover of the November 15, 1998 issue of Wrestling USA is Williamsport junior Eric Kuczynski, battling River Hill's Brandon Lauer in the 103-pound Maryland 1A-2A state final match last year. Next year, you be the one on top, Eric.

* Kane Staley, a North High alumnus, and big brother of defending Maryland 1A-2A state champion Seth Staley (140), is a wrestling rookie at Western Maryland College. Kane, a sophomore, will compete at 149 pounds.

Be there

The season opens with a flurry Friday night and Saturday in Catoctin. The annual Catoctin Duals feature four teams from our preseason rankings: No. 2 Mercersburg Academy, No.8 Middletown, No.9 Greencastle and No. 10 Walkersville. Rounding out the field of eight are Catoctin, James Buchanan, Liberty and Urbana.

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