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Adding 215 weight class helps high school wrestling

October 01, 2002|by AL DITZEL

Over the summer, I ran into an area high school wrestler at a Hagerstown Suns game. We chatted a bit about the upcoming season.

Obviously, summer isn't usually the time to talk high school wrestling but this young man was very informative. He projected his team's lineup, including the 215-pound weight class.

OK, this is when my ears went up like a puppy's when chow is being served.

That's right, Maryland has adopted the 215 weight class this season. The new weight class has also been added in Pennsylvania. I sent an e-mail out to some of the area coaches and, for the most part, they all liked the idea.

One coach wrote, "With weightlifting and nutrition becoming such a big part of today's athletic scene kids are getting bigger. I am surprised it took Maryland as long as it has. It will attract more athletic kids to the sport."

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Another coach wrote, the added class is "to cut down on the big disparity from the gap from 189 class to 275 class. It will be good for the sport."

Another wrote, "I can think of is it helps a lighter heavyweight who has problems with the heavier guys, so in that scenario it would be beneficial. The disadvantage is more forfeits."

I was working in New Jersey when it adopted the weight class. I found that, in the beginning, some teams had no trouble filling the spot while others opted to use two wrestlers to fill 189, 215 and 275. A wrestler could bounce between 189 and 215 and another could go 215 or 275. Still, it weakened the team - at first.

Now, some 10 years after the weight has been added, most teams with high-profile squads have no problems filling all the weight classes. Simply, the teams that could fill weight classes before adding 215 had no problems while teams that had trouble filling 13 weight classes before added another forfeit.

One coach wrote, "We've added weight classes but we haven't had equal distribution over the weights. My personal view, we need to downsize back to 12 weights (or even 10) and distribute the weight classes accordingly. This would create more junior varsity squads, which are almost non-existent now."

Interesting point. I remember in the 1980s when weight classes were redistributed from 101, 108, 115, 122, 129, 135, 141, 148, 158, 170, 188 and heavyweight to 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189 and 275. What this did was add more weight classes in the middle so teams would have a larger pool of kids at that weight to fill.

Another negative in Pennsylvania is that now wrestlers will need to weigh in at least half their bouts at a specific weight before districts. What this means is that a Pa. wrestler will not be able to weigh in at 152 all year and drop to 140 for districts. Some Pa. coaches are unhappy with that development.

Still, my opinion is, that with time, every coach will like having the 215 weight class and many wrestlers will benefit.

Al Ditzel is the staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 7520 or by e-mail at alfredd@heraldmail.com

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