Wrestling rule change has significant local impact

Von Ridenour’s record is back in play.

The most significant changes in weight classes in high school wrestling in 23 years will take place in the 2011-12 season.

In its April 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee approved an upward shift of the weight classes, beginning with the 103-pound class moving to 106 pounds, which resulted in new weights for 10 of the 14 classes. The changes in weight classes, along with 17 other rules revisions, were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The 14 weight classes approved by the committee for 2011-12 are as follows: 106 (pounds), 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285. Three middle weight classes – 145, 152 and 160 – were retained, although they are 7-8-9 in order now rather than 8-9-10. The largest weight class (285 pounds) remains unchanged as well.

Ridenour set a national high school record when the former William Blount Governor scored a 5 second pin at 132 pounds in a February 1982 match. The mark seemed destined to be Ridenour’s for all time when the 132-pound weight class was discontinued six years later.

The last wholesale shift in weight classes occurred in 1988, when the lowest weight class was increased from 98 to 103 pounds. The only other changes since then were in 2002, when the number of classes went from 13 to 14 and the 215-pound weight class became mandatory, and in 2006, when the 275-pound class was increased to 285 pounds.

Wrestling is the sixth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 272,890 participants in 10,363 schools during the 2009-10 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. In addition, 6,134 girls were involved in wrestling in 1,009 high schools.

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