Weather forces prep wrestlers into extra six weeks of dieting

Cameron Smith
January 14, 2011

The winter weather had dramatic consequences for high school sports schedules across the country this week, but none of the adjustments forced by ice and snow were as dire as the ones affecting wrestlers in the state of Georgia who lost the scheduled Team Duals state championships, which were to be held on Saturday but were already postponed because of anticipated travel problems.

The issue isn't the current postponement as much as it is the date on which the Duals championship will now be held. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, rather than moving the event for a week or even two weeks, the event was shifted six weeks, to Feb. 25-26.

While that might have been the first weekend that was completely free for all the teams involved -- it had to be free, because the sport was scheduled to finish up the previous weekend -- it will create an additional month to six weeks of trauma for many of the wrestlers involved. More than athletes in any other prep sport, wrestlers often struggle to maintain their fighting weight, often sweating out pounds just hours before a bout despite a stringent diet that leads up to an event.

Many of those weight-conscious wrestlers would have been freed from the torment of the weigh-in scale after the Team Duals, but now will have to maintain strict diets for another entire month. That's no small feat, even if it does require small appetites.

Those concerns don't seem to have been considered by Georgia High School Association officials, who instead appeared to make their decision based purely on convenient scheduling.

"We were looking at the fact with many schools not in session, we couldn't really have it this weekend," GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin told the Journal-Constitution. "If we tried to put it another weekend during the regular season, it would fall on top of schedules that teams have already made. So we just decided that we would put it at the end."

Is the new, elongated season schedule -- which will affect all wrestlers as opposed to just teams' top individual performers -- really fair to the teenagers who have to deal with it? Probably not. Unfortunately, that won't help change the rules of the sport, or make the traditional weight classes any more lenient.

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