High school wrestlers will have to follow a more stringent program to prevent rapid weight loss under rules adopted this week by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Starting in 2006-07, wrestlers may not lose more than 1.5 percent of their weight per week and must maintain body fat of at least 7 percent for boys and 12 percent for girls. Also, their weight-loss plans must be monitored weekly by the schools.
The issue surfaced in 1997 after three college wrestlers died as a result of ailments attributed to excessive weight-loss in an attempt to reach a lower weight class for competition. The NCAA clamped down the next year, and since then, high school athletic associations in at least 18 states also have set standards for the amount of weight wrestlers may lose.
The Virginia High School League and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association already have strict weight-loss guidelines in place, including early-season weight class and the same body fat regulations passed by the National Federation this week.
"The weight management rule change is certainly monumental," Dave Carlsrud, chairman of the NFHS wrestling rules committee, said Friday. "While weight management has been researched for many years and may have been passed earlier, a number of our states needed time to prepare for an effective implementation."
The board of directors of the NFHS also approved reducing the amount of weight wrestlers are permitted to gain during consecutive days of competition. Previously, they were allowed to gain one pound per day. Now, a maximum of two pounds will be allowed, regardless of the number of days of competition.
The rule, along with the one on weight loss, will prevent wrestlers from shedding pounds to reach a lower weight class and then bulking up once the competition has begun.
The action by the NFHS makes the rule mandatory for all its member state associations. The organization represents about 18,000 high schools and some 13 million students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Watkins Mill Rallies
After squandering an eight-run lead, the Watkins Mill baseball team claimed a wild 9-8 victory over visiting Walter Johnson in eight innings yesterday.
Watkins Mill took an 8-0 lead in the second inning of the Montgomery 4A West game on a three-run home run by junior first baseman Matt Hollenberg. But Walter Johnson fought back, tying the game on catcher Mike Moss's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.
After two scoreless innings, pinch runner Corey Masson scored the winning run in the eighth on a throwing error.
Pitcher Zack Skellshock earned his first high school victory. The freshman entered the game in the seventh inning and threw two innings of scoreless relief.
-- Ross Gianfortune and news services