The National Federation of State High School Associations announced sweeping changes to wrestling beginning in the 2011-12 season, as 10 of the 14 weight classes have been modified.
Starting in the fall, the new classes will be 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285.
The NFHS left 145, 152 and 160 alone and kept heavyweight at 285.
The most recent wholesale change came in 1988 when the lowest weight class, 98 pounds, was moved up to 103.
“They should have given coaches a vote,” Wadsworth coach John Gramuglia said. “I really think it will weaken high school wrestling. They essentially took a middleweight (140) out and added a 182. You’ll have a lot of forfeits. I like the 106, but it’s not fair overall. It’s not good.”
Dan Thoburn, a 2004 Highland graduate who finished runner-up his senior season at 215, likes the change, but wasn’t sure exactly why the powers that be made such big adjustments.
“I don’t dislike it,” said Thoburn, a volunteer coach for the Hornets. “I think it will make it a learning curve for the kids and coaches the next couple years. I wish they had (another weight) in college instead of going from 197 to 285.
“They needed a middle ground somewhere. I think it’s good, but I can see where it can hurt and help kids. They made the change, so now you have to change. I’d like to know the reasoning, though.”
The issue that hits to the heart of most area coaches is the fact most high school athletes, in their opinion, weigh between 125 and 150 pounds.
Losing a weight class in the middle could create more holes because of it.
“I would have liked them to add a weight rather than adding an upper weight and getting rid of a lower one,” Medina coach Chad Gilmore said. “I don’t like seeing the kids lose a weight where the majority of them weigh.
“I would have liked to see more of a bell curve. You see forfeits at the low and high end. To take out middleweight, it hurts the sport a little bit.”
The changes were made following results from a three-to-four year process utilizing data from the National Wrestling Coaches Association Optimal Performance Calculator, according to a story on NFHS.org.
The rules committee analyzed more than 200,000 wrestlers across the country and tried to create an atmosphere where 7 percent of wrestlers fall in each weight class.
The only other changes since 1988 were in 2002, when the number of classes went from 13 to 14 and the 215-pound weight class became mandatory, and 2006, when the 275-pound class was increased to 285 pounds.
Brad Squire, who won two state titles at Wadsworth before graduating in 2010, sees it as just a formality.
“A weight class is a weight class,” said Squire, who wrestled at 140 as a junior. “You’ll just have to go two pounds lighter or five pounds heavier. To me, you adapt and adjust. Things will happen. Just like the real world, you adjust to it.”
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.