Separate Weight Classes for Girls, Choice of Weight Classes Established in High School Wrestling
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 20, 2021) — States will have a choice of 12, 13 or 14 weight classes for both boys and girls competition in high school wrestling, effective with the 2023-24 season.
This will be the first separate weight classes established for girls in high school wrestling, and it marks the first time that state associations will have a choice in the number of weight classes.
The landmark change in weight classes was one of several significant revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 7-9 meeting held virtually this year. All recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
States must select one of the three sets (12, 13 or 14) of weight classes for girls and one of the three sets (12, 13 or 14) for boys. States cannot adopt all three sets and cannot switch back and forth during the season.
The following weight classes (in pounds) were established for girls competition (girls wrestling girls), effective July 1, 2023:
12 Weight Classes – 100, 107, 114, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 165, 185, 235.
13 Weight Classes – 100, 106, 112, 118, 124, 130, 136, 142, 148, 155, 170, 190, 235.
14 Weight Classes – 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 155, 170, 190, 235.
The following weight classes (in pounds) were established for boys competition (boys wrestling boys or girls wrestling boys), effective July 1, 2023:
12 Weight Classes – 108, 116, 124, 131, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 190, 215, 285
13 Weight Classes – 107, 114, 121, 127, 133, 139, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215, 285
14 Weight Classes – 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215, 285
“Previous surveys have indicated a varying number of weight classes that states wanted, so the committee attempted to meet the needs of as many people as possible,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Wrestling Rules Committee. “We have more and more state associations sponsoring girls wrestling and holding state championships for girls, so the committee believed it was time to establish uniform weight classifications for girls.
“The recommended weights were established based upon more than 215,000 assessments from the National Wrestling Coaches Association. We are excited about these changes to weight classes in high school wrestling as we believe it will provide more opportunities for male and female student-athletes to be involved in this great sport.”
In another major change affecting risk minimization, a separate 5-minute time-out has been established for the onsite health-care professional to evaluate potential head and neck injuries involving the cervical column (HNC) and/or nervous system.
“There was a desire to establish a separate injury time-out that concerns the head and neck involving the cervical column and/or nervous system and not connect it with the existing 1½-minute injury time-outs or any other stoppage of the match,” Hopkins said. “This separate time-out is supported and covered in existing rules that give the referee the authority to observe the signs, symptoms and behaviors of a concussion and respond appropriately.”
As a result of the separate HNC time-out, which takes effect next year, a number of other rules in the 2021-22 NFHS Wrestling Rules Book will be altered.
The other significant change in high school wrestling rules for 2021-22 addresses the number of matches allowed in one day of competition. Currently, no wrestler shall represent the school in more than one weight class in any meet or wrestle in more than five matches, excluding forfeits, in any one day of competition.
A change provides an exception to Rule 1-4-3 as follows: “No wrestler shall wrestle in more than six matches (championship or consolation), excluding forfeits, in any one day of a tournament conducted by the state high school association for qualification to the state high school championships or the specific state championships.”
This change was enacted as a result of a successful experiment by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. Hopkins said that increasing the number of matches from five to six would allow postseason tournaments with more than eight competitors in a weight class to complete the tournament in one day. He said, in many cases, this change would eliminate the need for schools to stay overnight to participate in respective state qualifying tournaments and state championship events.
“Since this exception would only allow six matches per day to be wrestled in the postseason qualifying tournament or state championship event, the impact on the total number of matches that an individual wrestles in an entire season would be minimal,” Hopkins said. “We do not want to extend this change to the regular season, and this exception would not come into play for the majority of participants.”
Two other minor changes were made in the rules for next year. Rule 4-5-7 no longer will require low-cut socks to be worn as a part of the weigh-in procedure, and one change was made in Rule 5-1-1 dealing with choice of position during bad time.
A complete listing of the wrestling rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Wrestling.”
According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, wrestling is the seventh-most popular sport for boys with 247,441 participants in 10,843 schools. In addition, a total of 21,124 girls are involved in the sport in 2,890 schools.
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Release by NFHS Communications
NFHS Wrestling Rules Book 2021-22
The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and the NFHS Board of Directors believes there are areas of interscholastic wrestling that need to be addressed and given special attention. These areas of concern are often cyclical, some areas need more attention than others, and that is why they might appear in the rules book for consecutive editions. These concerns are identified as “Points of Emphasis.” For the 2021-22 high school wrestling season, attention is being called to: boys and girls weight classification equipment; head/neck/cervical column (HNC) timeout; and stalling in the ultimate tiebreaker. When a topic is included in the Points of Emphasis, these topics are important enough to reinforce throughout the academic year because they are not being given the proper attention needed.
Boys and Girls Weight Classification Equipment
Discussion about weight classes invariably creates a lot of energy around the number of classifications and the actual weights themselves. The 2011-12 academic season was the last time high school weight classes were modified. Based on your perspective, fortunately or unfortunately the world has changed dramatically since 2011. We have an increased interest in our sport by girls with growing participation numbers and the 30th state association will be sponsoring and hosting a girls wrestling championship next school year. Simply stated, it is time to offer a uniform set of weights for girls in different classifications for states to select one that best fits their needs (and allow for growth in the future).
Boys wrestling continues to decline, although there are some mitigating factors that contribute to the downturn. In part, one of those factors is reflective of our fluctuating student enrollment demographics nationally. Towns and cities have shifted their populations and we are witnessing a phenomenon playing out across the country that schools and their enrolled student bases are changing drastically. Some of our member state associations have struggled filling 14 weight classifications since we changed the weights in 2011. The new rule of providing an option of state associations selecting 12, 13 or 14 weight classifications makes tremendous sense and will allow them the chance to address some of those challenges and allow more students to benefit from wrestling.
Consequently, the suggested weights are data- and science-driven. These recommended weights are based upon data from 215,000 body fat assessments from high school students nationally by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). We have established the implementation date as July 1, 2023 to give coaches, schools and students the opportunity and time to prepare for the new weights. Our goal for this rule change is to give states that needed flexibility the chance to make better educated decisions in their state and to allow more students to wrestle.
Head/Neck/Cervical Column (HNC) Timeout
There was a desire to establish a separate injury time-out that involves the head and neck involving the cervical column and/or nervous system and not connect it with the existing 1-1/2 minute injury time-outs. The HNC time-out is the fifth occurrence that a referee would stop a match.
This separate time-out is supported and covered in existing rules that give the referee the authority to observe signs, symptoms and behaviors of a concussion and respond appropriately with or without an appropriate health-care professional present.
Stalling in the Ultimate Tiebreaker
Stalling by nature and by definition is something that typically is not rewarded during regulation time of a match. In fact, it is severely penalized because wrestling is an attacking and rigorous activity. The aggressive wrestler benefits in the number of points he/she accumulates during a match. But the Ultimate Tiebreaker (UT) is a unique one-time situation that has some different nuances. In proper context, we have wrestled an entire regulation match, three overtimes (one 60-second and two 30-second) and remain tied. If no scoring occurs during the UT, the offensive wrestler is rewarded a match point during the UT for maintaining control/riding out (6-7-1c8, 9-1-8, Scoring Symbols (pg. 58)) and will ultimately win the match.
2021-22 WIAA Points of Emphasis
2021-22 WIAA Points of Emphasis and Reminders – We would like to remind all officials and coaches that there will be an officials’ clinic held in conjunction with the coaches’ clinic on Nov. 13th in Green Bay. Our major goal is to have uniform officiating state wide. Coaches are welcome to attend. It is important for all officials to go to the website and check your profile to make sure it is accurate and current. Failure to do so could result in your being ineligible for some post season assignments.
Our need for officials – We all realize that Wisconsin is in dire need of young officials. As in the past, I encourage all officials' associations’ state wide to adopt a mentoring program to help develop young officials. In addition, all high school coaches should encourage their athletes to consider obtaining a Limited-Restricted license. This will allow them to officiate all youth through JV level wrestling events. There is no fee to be paid by them for this license.
Officials’ clinic – Will again be held in Green Bay on Nov.13th in conjunction with the annual WWCA coach’s clinic.. This is a great event – be there if possible. You will be contacted with more information. Association leaders, please encourage your membership to attend.
Assistant referee - The AR has been utilized in the post season the last 7 years. We must continue to use it whenever possible. Repetition creates confidence and excellence. Certification in its use can again be obtained by watching an on-line power point through the WIAA website. You will be expected to view this short power point by Jan. 1, to be considered eligible for post season assignments. There is a handout on the responsibilities of the AR that is found on the officials’ resource center of the WIAA website. To avoid misconceptions and misunderstandings, coaches as well are encouraged to watch it.
Website - It is very important that all officials visit the website frequently throughout the season to keep up to date on interpretations, situations and answers to a variety of questions. This is the best way we can communicate and keep everyone on the same page. Also, check out the great variety of available resources and see if anything new has been added. The website will be updated in the near future.
Consecutive Days of Competition or school cancellation - To get in line with the NFHS rules we will allow a growth allowance for consecutive days of competition of 1lb per day to a maximum of 2 pounds. So if you have a dual on Wednesday and Thursday, and a school cancellation on Friday, followed by a tournament on Saturday, you get two extra pounds on Saturday. For example, if the weight is 106 on Wednesday, it would be 107 on Thursday, it would be 108 on Friday and it would stay 108 on Saturday. You may never exceed the 2 pound allowance during the regular season and you must give your opponents(s) a 48 hour notice prior to the event. The 48 hours is required for consecutive days of competition, not for school cancellations. But they must be notified. The appropriate persons to notify would be the coach, AD or principal.
Weight Class Eligibility – A reminder that a wrestler may only qualify for a maximum of two weight classes in any one day. The two weight classes are whatever their weight qualifies them for that day plus the next weight class. Growth allowance and consecutive days of competition also has an impact on minimum weights for competition. The example here would be if the weight of the day for the usual 112 weight class was 114, in order for a wrestler to be eligible for 126, a wrestler would have to weigh at least 114.1.
Straight back Suplay and Salto – Reminder that two years ago there was a rule change and emphasis put on eliminating these two high amplitude and dangerous maneuvers. Any time a wrestler picks up his/her opponent and brings them straight back over their head, regardless of how they land, it is to be considered an illegal hold and should be penalized as such.
Supporting Points – The wrestling mat has been expanded over recent years and we need to make sure we are keeping up to date on what the supporting points are so that we are consistent and accurate on calling the boundary lines and taking advantage of the extra mat space. We want to reward the aggressive wrestler whenever possible. Remember two supporting points in bounds means we are in, whether that be two of one wrestler or one of each. There are some great resources on supporting points in the resource section of the WIAA website.
2020-21 NFHS Wrestling Considerations
In support of the Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities, the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee offers this document for state associations to consider whether any possible rules could be altered for the 2020-21 season. The considerations outlined in this document are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there might be additional steps in each school, city, and state to help prevent the spread of virus. Even when taking all precautions, there will still be risk of transmitting illnesses. Everyone should stay vigilant about the health of members of their teams. Lastly, the situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing. These considerations may quickly become outdated. Please keep up with the latest from the CDC and other health officials in your state.
Return to Competition
- Have hand sanitizer and wipes available at the table.
- Wash stations or sanitizer at mat side.
- No one touches the score sheet except the scorer.
- If writing implements are used, they should be sanitized and not shared with anyone.
- Disinfect the mats prior to competition.
- Athletes and Coaches wears masks off the mat.
- Participate/host smaller events (more duals, less larger tournaments)
- Check the fans’ temperature prior to admission.
- Minimize the number of spectators.
Considerations for Coaches:
- Wear masks on and off mat.
- Eliminate handshakes post-match.
Considerations for Wrestlers:
- Submit to COVID-19 testing as part of your pre-participation physical.
- Take the temperature of the wrestlers before weigh-ins.
- Showers after weigh-ins.
- Shower after each round and put on a fresh uniform.
- Stagger weight classes, so not everyone is in chairs mat-side.
- Wear masks off the mat when not competing.
- Eliminate handshakes pre- and post-match.
- Eliminate handshakes with coaches’ post-match.
Considerations for Referees:
- Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently
- Don’t share equipment.
- Change whistle several times during the day.
- Follow social distancing guidelines. Consider six feet minimum distance when talking to others (players, coaches, other officials).
- Consider using electronic whistle.
- Do not shake hands and follow pre- and post-game ceremony guidelines established by state associations.
- Off mat officials may wear masks at all times.
- Wear masks on the mat.
- May wear disposable glove. If so, then they must change after each match.
Considerations for Parents
(A family’s role in maintaining safety guidelines for themselves and others):
- Make sure your child and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition (if there is doubt stay home),
- Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
- Disinfect your students’ personal equipment after each game or practice.
2-3-4 Pt. Near-Fall – 2016-17 Season
The logic of the rules clarification is to not allow a defensive wrestler the opportunity to commit an illegal hold, technical violation, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike act in order to negate a possible fall or near-fall. This supports the philosophy that the defensive wrestler should not be able to profit through this action.
Whenever a match is stopped, the addition of a near-fall point(s) and the penalty point shall be awarded. Stoppage is defined as: 1) stopping the match due to the penalty (the match need not be stopped during the near fall unless the referee finds it necessary to do so to protect the wrestler); 2) going out of bounds; or 3) period ends; 4) the near fall situation has ended.
When near-fall criteria are imminent, and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be two points for imminent near-fall and one point for the penalty. Should near-fall criteria be met for a period of 2-4 seconds, and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be three points for meeting near-fall criteria and one point for the penalty. Should near-fall criteria be met for a period of five seconds and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be four points for meeting the five-second count and one point for the penalty. Also, if the referee is making a delayed penalty call and the defensive wrestler maneuvers out of criteria (such as bellying down) or the offensive wrestler continues on to earn a two or three-point near fall, the penalty point is to be awarded, as is the additional near-fall point.
The offended wrestler may receive a minimum of two near-fall points and a penalty point, three near-fall points and a penalty point, or a maximum of four near-fall points and a penalty point for a total of five points. Should the penalty sequence come into play, the offending wrestler may also be disqualified.
Near Fall Points – Rule 5-11-2 – The NFHS interpretation of this rule has changed a number of times over the last 3 years. As a result, this has caused some confusion and misinterpretation. Keep in mind that it is not the intent of this rule to take the defensive wrestler off his back unless you feel it is necessary in order to prevent injury to either wrestler. Proper communication by the official to the wrestlers will usually avoid stopping the match during the near-fall situation. Should you have to take a wrestler off his back due to repeated unnecessary roughness or repeated unsportsmanlike conduct, the official could easily be justified in calling flagrant misconduct at that point.
If wrestling is stopped just prior to near fall criteria being met, then the offensive wrestler has earned a 2 point NF in addition to the penalty point (3 points total). If wrestling is stopped once criteria has been met for 2-4 seconds, then the wrestler has earned a 3 pt. NF in addition to the penalty point (4 points total). If wrestling is stopped after a 3 pt. NF has been earned (five second count), then a 4 point NF will be awarded in addition to the penalty point (5 points total).
The majority of time the official will not stop the match once criteria is met. In other words, when the near fall situation has ended, then the match will be stopped and the points will be awarded as described above. Just because you did not take the defensive wrestler off his back does not nullify this rule. They have earned and will be awarded the maximum number of points as described above. The defensive wrestler may have profited from this action, no matter how minutely it may have been.
Wisconsin wrestlers will now follow the NFHS 1.5% per week weight loss plan. Once the minimum weight for wrestlers is established, they will be allowed to lose 1.5% of their body weight to reach the minimum weight. Coaches will enter the wrestler's weigh in from each competition into TrackWrestling and a new plan might be established.
For details, click HERE. For Frequently Asked Questions, click Here.
For Weight Loss Plan information, steps to enter your matches, and printing the Weigh-in sheet on Trackwrestling, click HERE.
For DXA or Hydrostatic Weighing appeals - Coaches MUST change the wrestler's Consent flag (parental permission weight) in Trackwrestling to Y - BEFORE printing the weight loss plan for the wrestler to bring to the appointment. If the wrestler weighs less than the plan allows for the date the test is done, it will be denied.