For the third straight year the Interhigh will not have a wrestling league.

Again, only two schools, Ballou and Cardozo, have put together teams this winter and they will compete as independents. Cardozo defeated the Knights last winter, 42-36.

"They are the only schools in the league that have qualified wrestling coaches," said Otto Jordan, the league's director of athletics. "The problem doesn't stem from a lack of interest from the students, it's just that there are no coaches."

Six schools have developed wrestling programs. However, they will not be allowed to compete until their coaches are identified and considered fully qualified for the position.

Ballou opened the season last weekend as it finished sixth in the 10-team St. Anselm's tournament. Two Ballou wrestlers won individual titles.

Two years ago, Anacostia, the 1983 champions, and H.D. Woodson, were among schools in the conference to have wrestling programs. But both schools had to end their programs due to a shortage of qualified coaches.

"There are more than enough students interested in wrestling, and want to compete," said Woodson Athletic Director Bob Headen. "But we don't have a wrestling coach at the school."

It was only four years ago that the league was well established and produced some of the area's best.

"RIF (reduction in force) was one of the first problems we encountered trying to maintain a league," said Vinnie L. Freeman, supervisor of health, physical education and athletics. "We lost all our wrestling coaches and you just don't replace a wrestling coach with a football or basketball coach.

"Safety is another problem. The students' health and safety comes first. There are a lot of legal suits filed against schools all around the nation due to wrestling injuries. It's a dangerous sport. You need competent and expert coaches and we just don't have them.

"And then there's the problem of getting money to pay the coaches. They don't receive pay." Model edged Gonzaga, 152-148, for the St. Anselm's title. Model's Bobby Reimer (119) was named the tournament's most valuable wrestler. Model's Toselli Sylvestri won the award for most pins (three) as he took the heavyweight title.