Something look a little off this year in the weights wrestlers are competing at?
Fear not, they’re no typos.
All but four weight classes were slightly adjusted this year, the most dramatic shift in weights in 23 years.
The changes were handed down by the National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors in April at the behest of the associations’ Wrestling Rules Committee.
The purpose behind the adjustments was to evenly spread out the distribution of wrestlers in each weight class.
“The change in weight classes resulted from a three- to four-year process utilizing data from the National Wrestling Coaches Association Optimal Performance Calculator,” said Dale Pielmann, chair of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee, in a press release.
Pielmann added that the goal was to “have approximately seven percent of the wrestlers in each weight class.”
The change spreads out the middle weights more and adds to the upper weights. Where there used to be four weight classes between 130 and 145 pounds, there are now three (132, 138 and 145). The 140-pound weight was eliminated.
The upper weights now have more options beginning with 170. The next weight is 182, followed by 195 and 220. The heavyweight, 285, remains unchanged.
The other weights that remain the same are 145, 152 and 160, but they are now 8-9-10 in order as opposed to 9-10-11.
Riverhead coach Wade ‘Rocky’ Davey said the change benefited schools in the midwest more than it would New York.
“In reality the least participated weights in New York, especially Suffolk County, are the upper weights,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good thing for New York wrestling.”
Davey noted that at a school like Riverhead, there are plenty of kids who fit the bill to wrestle in the upper weights, but getting them into the sport is often the challenge.
The last change in weight classes came in 2006 when the heavyweight increased from 275 to 285.
The lowest weight used to be 96 pounds, a weight class that is not formally recognized by the NFHS. In New York, however, the weight is competed and it will now be bumped up to 99.
Before last season the 96 and 285 weights were wrestled at the discretion of the teams during dual meets. They became mandatory last season and remain that way this year.