Coaches weigh in on new weight classes, weigh ins, and more
BY JEFF CHANEY
Michigan Grappler Staff Writer
5/11 - A little over a month ago I asked coaches and fans in this great state some questions on rules and coverage.
I wanted to get some feedback that we here at Michigan Grappler, and I myself, could use when talking to officials about the sport. Also to use in help expanding our coverage.
Although I didn't get every coach to respond (I know a lot of you want to take a vacation from it when the long season is over), I did get over 30 coaches respond to me, which may be a good sample size for the state.
Responses came from every corner of the state.
Here were the questions, and some comments from coaches about them:
1. Are you happy keeping the old weight classifications, or would you like to follow the national weight system?
This questions wasn't even close, by a landslide, coaches want to keep our current format. Only two coaches of the over 30 wanted to change to the national system, and Hamilton coach Gregg Stoel responded by saying: “Yes (I like the current weights), but if the rest of the country is not going to go back to the old weight class, Michigan needs to adopt the new weight classifications.”
2. Should the sport go back to shoulder-to-shoulder weigh-ins?
This one was split right down the middle. Many coaches would like to go back to the old days when each wrestler weighed in the day of the dual or tournament, eliminating any questions about a wrestlers weight. But others like the system as it stands now.
Here are some interesting takes on this question.
“First, in theory, on site weigh ins make it a a level playing field but in reality it is just plain easier to weigh in the night before. Back in the eighties when I wrestled, there were no questions about integrity and cheating because everyone weighed in together shoulder to shoulder but now for convenience sake we have made it easier by weighing in the night before, but that is the case in the overall reality of high school sports and a reality of how we raise our children today- we make it easier! I personally don't believe cheating is that big of an issue but wrestling is a sport of commitment and integrity and issues and accusations arise because of how we do things. On site weigh ins would bring back commitment and more responsibility from our kids and i think that is a great thing.” – Alma coach Randy Miniard.
“I still believe what is best for kids is best for the sport. Home weigh in benefits kids, therefore we should hold on to home weigh ins as long as we can. I also still believe that there is a vast majority of high school wrestling coaches with a high degree of integrity.” – Stoel
“Shoulder-to-shoulder has its advantages and disadvantages. I am certain that a number of wrestlers I witnessed this year would not have successfully made the weight they wrestled that day at a shoulder to shoulder. However, I feel that there are more advantages of a home weigh-in. I wrestled in High School right during the transfer from shoulder to shoulder to home weigh-ins. My coach use to drop us off at set mileage points away from the schools to run into the school to help maintain our weight. I am certain practices like that would be continued in shoulder to shoulder and were not really helpful to the kids. Those individuals manipulating the home weigh-in system are those same guys you see up a weight class or not making weight at districts or beyond. The larger issue needs to be addressed at Alphas. Reviewing the alpha sheets from other teams and just visual evaluation of the wrestlers, there is NO way some of those guys could qualify at those lower weights. Maybe a tweak to the system to make it mandatory for a third party to witness the alphas or home weigh-ins not associated with the home school?” Zeeland East coach Martin Landes
3. What about riding time, should high school matches include ride time like colleges?
Although a lot of coaches were intrigued with this question, most would like to keep riding time in college. But some believe riding should be considered a weapon, not stalling.
“Riding time would be a great addition for high school wrestling. As it is now we are called for stalling more often for being the dominant rider. I believe the wrestler should be rewarded for being good at riding.” – Dundee coach Tim Roberts
4. What about college boundaries, should high school matches be reffed like college matches on the boundary?
Another hot-button question, split almost down the middle. A lot of coaches like wrestlers in the center of the match, but some believe that the edge of the circle should be just as important as the center.
“The out of bounds should definitely be changed to the college system. I asked every ref I could this year and they all want it also. It is the most inconsistently called part of the sport for us. Many matches change on a refs call right there and he may call it opposite next time. Yes 100% in favor of that.” – Roberts
“Yes, the offensive wrestler should be given every chance to score within reason (and safety). I understand the concern about high school mats not having as much space that college mats usually do, but blowing it immediately dead w/out regard to the situation is too much.” - East Grand Rapids coach Tom Baranoski
I want to thank everyone for responding to this. Aside from this info, which I will be passing along to officials in the sport, I plan on using it for future stories.
And for you fans that responded, we will try and take your input and try and improve coverage.
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