Whatever it takes to make the weight

Wrestlers go to the extreme to meet class requirement


MIchealla Foules

During practice, wrestler Darryn Penry attempts to hold his grip as teammate Leo Leon grabs his fingers in a scurry to escape.

For sports like football, volleyball and baseball, athletes are positioned on the field or court to play a certain role for the team. For wrestling, weight classes are just as important as positions; they are categorized into a weight class with other wrestlers. These classes range from 98 pounds to 237 pounds and because of the extreme attention to weight, some have lost up to 40 pounds from the beginning of the season to the end.

In wrestling, they compete with different schools in tournaments. You show up, weigh in, and if you’re even an ounce over, you are bumped into the next weight class, drastically changing the rest of the tournament for you.

Junior Christian Gray was one of the many wrestlers who battled temptations throughout their wrestling season. He said it was difficult to cut back on food such as bread and red meat. Gray was one of the athletes who found himself losing weight and gaining it back constantly.

“I like to eat a lot,” Gray said, “and it’s harder when we have burritos and snacks just around the corner.”
He once put several layers of clothing on during a hot day so he would sweat more.

Wrestlers push themselves to extreme lengths in order to lose or gain weight. For five days out of the week, they’re in the sauna-like wrestling room, sweating every last drop of water weight. For two to three hours, they complete their daily three mile run and do whatever the coaches throw at them, ranging from bear crawls, non-stop timed sprinting, backward roles, etc., leaving them soaking in their own sweat.

As the week comes to an end, some wrestlers begin to have paranoia of meeting their weight class that they inhabitant themselves in some outrageous tricks to lose those pestering extra pounds.

Senior varsity wrestler Darryn Penry was also someone who had frustration when it came to “making weight.” He said that water weight was especially crucial.

“You can’t just drink a bottle of water,” Penry said. “You have to watch yourself that much.”

A 16 ounce water bottle is equivalent to one pound, which is why wrestlers often stay away from drinking water constantly because water weight is crucial.

They go on their days with a bag of Jolly Ranchers and an empty bottle to spit their collected saliva, knowing that if they filled up the bottle they would have prevented a pound.

Some resort to drastic measures to make the weight class they so desperately desire even though it’s highly discouraged.

This was a common problem for the whole team. When their weekly tournament comes around, they expect the weight they vigorously worked for.

Despite their fierce determination, sometimes they don’t “make weight.” It’s a very strict concept. A wrestler cannot even be an ounce over their weight class or they are bumped up to the next highest weight class. This automatically makes you unprepared to a match you were not ready for.

It can both be an advantage with being thinner and having more agility or putting you in a position where you have to wrestle people much bigger than you. Either way, this is the reason why wrestlers always make sure to stay in their weight class.

A few days prior to his last tournament, sophomore Christian-John Salmasan allowed himself a few treats that made him fall off the wagon. It caused him to be two ounces overweight.

When he found out he was bumped up to the next weight class, he was met with feelings of disappointment and regret.

It hindered his mindset and had him in a hurry to remember the many advantages he had on his most likely larger opponents.

Salmasan said, “I tried to pull every single move that I learned from my coach but I still lost by two points.”

After the match he admitted that he felt as if he failed himself and his coach. He’s stuck now with questions in head such as “What if I didn’t eat that?” or “Would things be different?”

Overall, wrestling is demanding and it requires determination, time, effort and sacrifice.

As head coach Dao Tep said, “If there’s ever a group of kids who want to send those bad foods away and make that effort, it’s wrestlers.”