This weekend’s KHSAA state wrestling final round will be different for a variety of reasons.
One change in particular has North Hardin coach John Warner, who has two members of his team competing, worried about how it could impact qualifying wrestlers.
The concern is related to the amount of time in between weigh-ins and the start of wrestling Saturday morning. Currently, wrestling is expected to begin around 30 minutes after the start of weigh-ins, giving wrestlers around 15-20 minutes to prepare for the start of matches. Citing National Federation of State High School Association recommendations, Warner said wrestlers are not being given enough time in between.
“Their suggestion is, for an individual tournament, that you can go any time up to two hours,” he said. “If they’re gonna give you two hours, then you can’t say 15-20 minutes is enough for a kid to eat and rehydrate.”
Warner said there’s typically about an hour to an hour and a half between the start of weigh-ins and when wrestlers step onto the mat. Wrestlers use this span to prepare for their competition.
“That gives that kid time to get his warm-up in that he wants or that he feels he needs,” he said. “It allows him to eat what he wants to eat and drink as much as he wants to drink and then get ready to wrestle.”
Because the amount of time in between will be limited to around 20 minutes at most, Warner said this could be detrimental to wrestlers who aren’t used to such a quick turnaround.
“My problem is that you’re gonna have kids that stay close to the vest as far as their weight that haven’t eaten, so they’re gonna eat too much or they’re gonna drink too much,” he said. “They’re gonna get out there and they’re gonna get sick.”
Other concerns Warner expressed included the risk of injury this could pose to wrestlers who have a set routine for their preparation.
“You’re gonna take a kid that maybe in his mind because of most tournaments, you weigh in and an hour later wrestling starts, so he’s got that programmed in,” he said. “Then that kid’s not ready, he tries to do something that he shouldn’t do and he hurts himself.”
The current plan calls for weigh-ins to start at 8 a.m., with wrestling to begin at 8:30 a.m. As of Wednesday, Warner said there had been discussions regarding pushing back the start of wrestling to 9:30 a.m., but that hasn’t been decided yet.
“That gives them all an hour, which is what we’re used to,” he said. “All I want to see them do is allow the kids to be the best they can be. That’s what we’re supposed to do as coaches and administrators. We’re supposed to be striving to make them succeed, not fail.”
The state final round will be held at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester.