West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker, National Wrestling Hall of Famer
and Ricky Welker

By Ricky Welker

Over the years it has really amazed me how so many wrestling coaches do not actually know the rules. This is not a slight in any way to coaches out there but how in the world can they debate an issue with an official that could cost a kid a match or, for that matter, let a referees improper application of a rule dictate the outcome of a match.

As an official I have had the pleasure to be questioned by some pretty unknowledgeable youth coaches. And as bad as this is going to sound, I can understand it. A lot of youth coaches are parents that have been away from the sport for a time, and they now have children that are beginning their own wrestling careers. I, for one, enjoy officiating youth tournaments to see these coaches, many of whom I grew up wrestling with as a youth wrestler. I understand when they don't know the new rules.

But for paid middle school and high school coaches not knowing the rules is just a lack of preparation. Why would we as coaches prepare so hard and train our athletes to perform - and then not have a strong knowledge of intricate rules. Fortunately for me, and one of my wrestlers, we were able to take advantage of one coach's lack of knowledge. Let me explain.

During a consolation match last year at the Ohio Valley Championships, one of my wrestlers was in a real barn burner with a kid from a rival school. Throughout the course of the match our opponent was having some trouble breathing was handed his inhaler, and subsequently used an injury time out.

The match ends in a tie and no take down is scored in the first overtime period. My wrestler chose down for the first 30-second tiebreaker and was ridden out the entire period. At the conclusion of the period, our opponent goes over to his coach and gets his inhaler for the second time and takes another puff. I proceed to the table and request to talk to the referee. I didn't have to say a word because the official already realized what had just happened and informed the coach. We would again have the choice of top or bottom. As I am sure you have already concluded - we got a reversal and won the match.

This is in no way a slight to the coach of that young man. I spoke with quite a few coaches that day and explained to them what happened and was surprised to hear that they did not know the rule either. You see when a wrestler takes his second injury time his opponent is awarded choice of top, bottom or neutral. Now since it happened at the end of a period we got the choice for the next period and ultimately won the match.

Now for a little blame my way, I neglected to inform my 7th grade warrior that this isn't sudden death and he needs to wrestle the entire 30 seconds. He gets his two and starts to celebrate and almost gets himself reversed. He luckily responded and fought for the last 10 seconds of the match.

Wrestling rules can become confusing from time to time and the changes that are made each year by the National Federation sometimes make it extremely difficult for coaches to keep up. As an official I have my rule book with me whenever I referee a match, in the event that I may need it. I also carry one with me when I coach. I was taught long ago that as a coach I must prove an official has misinterpreted a rule.

By having that little rulebook with me, I was able to prove my point on more than one occasion.

Team Scoring in Tournaments

The chart for team scoring at tournaments is as follows:
Advancement Points
2 points - Championship Bracket (Regular Decision)
1 point - Consolation Bracket (Regular Decision)
1 point - Major Decision
1 points - Technical Fall
2 points - Fall, Default, Forfeit, or Disqualification
Bye followed with a Win
          2 points - Championship Bracket
          1 point - Consolation Bracket

Place Winner Points with Tournaments having Four Places
14 points - First Place
10 points - Second Place
7 points - Third Place
4 points - Fourth Place

Place Winner Points with Tournaments having Six Places
16 points - First Place
12 points - Second Place
9 points - Third Place
7 points - Fourth Place
5 points - Fifth Place
3 points - Sixth Place

Place Winner Points with Tournaments having Eight Places
16 points - First Place
12 points - Second Place
9 points - Third Place
7 points - Fourth Place
5 points - Fifth Place
3 points - Sixth Place
2 points - Seventh Place
1 point - Eighth Place

There are no match ties in tournament competition and the wrestlers must go into overtime to decide the winner by the Overtime "Sudden Death" Procedure (which will be explained next Sunday).

That, fans, is team scoring in tournaments. As you can plainly see, the official scorer has his hands full.

Mini-Mat Quiz
Q: Wrestler A wins by a score of 9-1 in the championship bracket. How many points does he score for his team?
A: Wrestler A would score 3 points for his team - 2points for advancement and 1 point for a major decision.

Mat Message
"One must be poor to know the luxury of giving."
- George Eliot

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