WEST VIRGINIA MAT THOUGHTS
by Dr. Bill Welker
National Wrestling Hall of Famer
"Behind the Scenes"
Did you ever wonder about the responsibilities of state tournament officials? How they are selected? What are their duties? What they are thinking? Who's in charge of them during the competition, etc.?
Let's start with the selection process. First of all, in order to be considered for the state tournament, a wrestling official must have a Class I rating. Secondly, each official who is interested in working the state tournament must self-nominate himself on the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission's (WVSSAC) website. Finally, the WVSSAC makes the ultimate decision as to who will be selected for states.
At the state tournament, the 12 officials selected are under the leadership of the "supervisor of officials." That individual would be yours truly. In the locker room, I allay the tension of the weekend's competition (especially with new officials) by telling corny jokes. But that's where the levity ends. Below are the instructions I give them regarding their duties each and every year:
1. DURING WEIGH-INS EACH DAY, DO NOT GIVE ANY WEIGHT ALLOWANCE NO MATTER HOW CLOSE A WRESTLER IS OVERWEIGHT!
As you can see, West Virginia state officials have a very demanding job. And we expect the best from them. They know it's a privilege to be assigned to the state tournament; thus, they work hard to stay totally focused throughout the entire three-day event.
2. ALWAYS SHOW POINTS CLEARLY AND IN AN ASSERTIVE MANNER, AND USE PROPER MECHANICS.
3. BE COURTEOUS TO COACHES AND ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS
WHEN APPROACHED PROFESSIONALLY. BUT AT THE SAME TIME BE "FIRM" WHEN MAKING ALL DECISIONS. REMEMBER, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING "FIRM" AND BEING "ARROGANT." ARROGANCE OFFENDS ALL PEOPLE.
4. DO NOT HESITATE TO CORRECT "DUMB" MISTAKES. WE HAVE ALL MADE THEM AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER.
5. ALL OFFICIALS MUST BE VERY PROFESSIONAL THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE STATE TOURNAMENT. DO NOT SIT ON THE MATS (NOT IN USE) TO WATCH OTHER OFFICIALS. PROFESSIONAL IMAGE IS A MUST - DISPLAY A SERIOUS DEMEANOR DURING EACH AND EVERY MATCH. NO LAUGHING OR JOKING DURING OR AFTER MATCHES. THE FANS WILL PERCEIVE THAT YOU'RE NOT TAKING YOUR OFFICIATING SERIOUSLY. PROFESSIONALISM ON THE MATS IS A MUST!
6. FINALLY, APPLY ALL RULES APPROPRIATELY AND ALWAYS ERR ON THE SIDE OF "WRESTLER SAFETY."
I can honestly say that we are very fortunate in the Mountain State to possess some of the finest mat arbiters in the country. They know their duties and responsibilities, and perform them exceptionally well.
Personally, I have always been proud of each and every one of them for their dutiful performance on the state mats.
There are seven technical violations in wrestling. Today we will discuss the last four technical violations. All but one technical violation (Incorrect Starting Position or False Starts) are penalized via the progressive penalty chart in the following manner:
" First Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Second Offense: One match point for the opponent
" Third Offense: Two Match points for the opponent
" Fourth Offense: Disqualification
Let's now take a look at the last four technical violations: Interlocking or Overlapping Hands, Figure Four Head Scissors in the Neutral Position, Reporting to the Mat Not Ready to Wrestle, and the Incorrect Starting Position or False Start.
Interlocking or Overlapping Hands
The top or offensive wrestler can only lock hands around his opponent's body or both legs when he is scoring near-fall points, or his opponent stands up with all his weight on his feet. Now should the defensive or bottom man score points while the top man commits this technical violation, he would receive all the points he scored plus a penalty point(s) for the violation.
Note, the official can only stop the match if he feels the bottom man can not score escape or reversal points due to the interlocking or overlapping hands technical violation.
Figure Four Head Scissors in the Neutral Position
The figure four head scissors is a technical violation in the neutral position when applied to stop his opponent from scoring a takedown. The referee-protocol for this infraction would be the same as the interlocking or overlapping hands technical violation.
Reporting to the Mat Not Ready to Wrestle
A wrestler must be properly attired and ready to wrestle when call to the mat by the official, or he will be penalized with a technical violation. He also loses one of his two time-outs. If he cannot rectify the problem regarding his attire within the one minute and thirty required or his opponent wins by default.
Incorrect Starting Position or False Start
It is a technical violation for a wrestler to assume an incorrect starting position in the neutral or referee's position. The also includes false starts in both positions. Note, unlike the other six technical violations, the first two incidents in this category are merely cautioned (the referee forms a "C" with his hand). The penalty is enforced on the third incident. Furthermore, this is the only technical violation that is not included in the progressive penalty. One penalty point is always awarded for this technical violation, no matter how often it occurs in a match.
Q: At the start of the match with no score, Wrestler A applies a figure four head scissors to stop Wrestler B from taking him down. Wrestler B does score the takedown. How many points will Wrestler B be awarded?
A: Wrestler B would earn three match points - two for the takedown and one for the technical violation.
Next week is the final "Mat Talk" column of the season. It is also the column in which we announce the Ohio and West Virginia OVAC Wrestlers of the Year. Who do you think they will be?
"While some men are struggling through their second childhood, I'm still enjoying my first."
-- Bill Welker
(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
PAST OVAC WRESTLER OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
The following are the past Ohio and West Virginia wrestlers receiving the
prestigious OVAC Wrestlers of the Year Award:
1988 - John Crain, Oak Glen
Rick Burlenski, Bridgeport
1989 - Dave Wood, Cameron
Dunyasha Yetts, Steubenville
1990 - Ed Neely, Weirton Madonna
Babe Sidon, Martins Ferry
1991 - Eric Potts, Cameron
Scott DeYarmon, Buckeye Local
1992 - R. C. Anderson, Cameron
John Gilbeaut, Union Local
1993 - Ryan Dudas, Cameron
Kelly Shields, Edison
1994 - Chad Burge, Cameron
Ryan Slack, Shadyside
1995 - Jason Taylor, Wheeling Park
Brian Roskovich, Bridgeport
1996 - Josh Giovengo, Bishop Donahue
Eric Anderson, Bellaire St. John's
1997 - Dewitt Stanley, Brooke
Sean Doyle, Buckeye Local
1998 - Chad Pratz, Linsly
Travis Clark, Union Local
1999 - Alex McClung, Oak Glen
Matt Salsberry, East Liverpool
2000 - Steve Ochap, Wheeling Park
Scott Roth, Martins Ferry
2001 - Eric Noel, Oak Glen
Cole Bowersock, Beaver Local
2002 - Derrick Sickles, Oak Glen
John Tierney, Martins Ferry
2003 - Phil Bliss, Brooke
David Berolino, Buckeye Local
2004 - Casey Hughes, Cameron
Koel Davia, Union Local
2005 - Dustin Richey, John Marshall
Clay Tucker, Martins Ferry
2006 - Rhett Northcraft, Oak Glen
Willie Saxton, Buckeye Local
2007 - Ronnell Green, Wheeling Park
James Myers, Indian Creek
2008 - Zach Basich, Wheeling Central
Bryan Skoff, Bridgeport
2009 - Dirk Bauer, Wheeling Park
Robbie Chilson, Bellaire
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