West Virginia Wrestling


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

By Ricky Welker

In this day and age of wrestling is it really far fetched to believe that we could not have a West Virginia Middle School State tournament? Time and again I read on WVMAT.com who the best kids are at certain weights and who has the top middle school in the state. With as many middle school teams there are in the state, this is virtually impossible to decide. So is a Middle School state tournament possible?

I believe that it is.

Let us take a look at how we could make this happen. First, regions would need to be established. Since there are more middle schools than there are high schools, the amount of regions would need to be adjusted. Instead of having 4 regions, 8 regions could be used and still allow the top 4 wrestlers to advance to the Middle School state competition. I understand that there has been discussion in the high school ranks about allowing more wrestlers to qualify for states, but some believe that doing so would water down the event. However, for middle schools that would not be the case. Since there are so many more middle schools compared to high schools, more regions would be necessary.

Using a 32-man bracket, the tournament would need to be conducted over a two-day period so that the wrestlers would never go over their five matches that are allowed per day.

Let me also say that there would be no need for size classifications because most AAA schools have multiple middle school feeders. Using Wheeling Park as an example, Park is one of the biggest schools in the state; however, they have 4 middle schools that feed into it. So size of the schools should not come into play.

Now that we have established the make-up of the tournament, let us talk about location. The tournament could be on a five-year rotation, and the event could be held in Huntington, Wheeling, Parkersburg, Charleston and Morgantown. This way the tournament will be spread out all over the state and reduce the cost on schools and parents from year to year. Also the running of the tournament would not fall on the same administration/coaches/boosters lap every year.

The only issue left would be to determine when the tournament should be held. It is my belief that given the 16 weigh-ins that are authorized to middle school wrestling programs, the regional tournaments could be wrestled the second week of February and the state tournament the third thus making sure that all athletes and fans would still be able to make it to Huntington for the state high school tournament if they so desired.

Finally, the issue may arise would the WVSSAC say - "Well, if we do it for wrestling then we should do it for all sports." Then do it for them as well; what would it hurt? Let's really think about this - wouldn't it be better to have these young athletes under the care of the school for a couple more weeks. This ensures that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, and occupying their time on something productive.

This may take away from the WV Junior State Tournament. But, come on, let's be honest; it's just another open tournament. There is no qualifying to compete as there is in other states - so can we really be positive that the best wrestler in that age group is participating. The West Virginia Middle School State Wrestling Tournament can accomplish that problem the same way the high schools do.

What are your thoughts?

Illegal Holds

The best definition I have come across for an illegal holds is "any maneuver used that could cause bodily harm, intentionally or not."

Examples of illegal moves include: full nelson, back bows, headlocks (without an arm encircled), forceful trips, pulling a thumb or less than four fingers, restricting breathing and/or circulation, and any holds used for punishment alone.

The penalties for illegal holds are assessed in the following order:
" 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

It is important to note that a wrestler who applies a legal hold shall not be penalized if his opponent turns it into an illegal hold.

Also, whenever possible, illegal moves should be prevented by an official rather than penalized. Unfortunately, the official often is not afforded the opportunity to intercede because the illegal maneuver happens so fast.

Mini-Mat Quiz

Q: Wrestler A applies an illegal full nelson to Wrestler B just before the final buzzer sounds to end the match. Wrestler A held a 12-5 lead at the time but this was his fourth illegal hold of the match. What will the referee do?

A: The official will disqualify Wrestler A, and Wrestler B would be declared the winner.

Mat Message

"Why not upset the apple cart? If you don't, the apples will rot anyway."
- Frank A. Clark
(Dr. Bill Welker can be reached via e-mail at: mattalkwv@hotmail.com)

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