Coach: Weight-class shift puts too many wrestlers at higher weights

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 2, 2012 - 1:21 AM

When the wrestling rules committee of the National Federation of State High School Associations approved an upward shift in weight classes last spring, it was believed the move would benefit the sport by more evenly distributing wrestlers across weight classes.

But not all coaches have been thrilled by the change, which in essence eliminated the 140-pound weight class and added another heavier weight.

"I don't think it's in the best interest of high school wrestling," Scott West co-coach Darren Ripley said. "The majority of wrestlers are in the middle weights. Big-guy wrestlers are hard to find."

Ripley pulled out a list of his wrestlers from an earlier meet, showing three who weighed in 7 to 25 pounds lighter than the weight levels at which they competed. "They're wrestling at higher weights than they should be," he said.

Ripley said he hopes that by speaking out he can start the process to going back to the previous weight-class system.

"We need a groundswell of coaches to get this changed back," he said.

Kimball family link

Kimball wrestling and the Schiefelbein family are inextricably linked. Schiefelbeins have dotted the Kimball roster for the better part of four decades. The current roster lists three: Travis, a 170-pound senior; Austin, a 195-pound sophomore, and Skyler, a 138-pound freshman.

So it's not insignificant, one family member said, that this year's Kimball team -- 34-0 going into Thursday's Class 1A championship match -- is the best in school history.

"I've had nine uncles wrestle for Kimball," Travis Schiefelbein said. "My oldest uncle, Frank, finally admitted it. I had to ask him if we were the best, but then he offered it up."

Big match preview?

A preview of perhaps the most competitive individual weight class of the tournament came in Kasson-Mantorville's 43-10 victory over Perham. Sam Stoll of Kasson-Mantorville, the No. 2-ranked heavyweight, handed Perham's Jesse Hein his first loss of the season, 5-3. No. 4-ranked Hein was 41-0 before the loss.

Stoll, now 43-1, and Hein are in the same side of the individual heavyweight bracket and will likely meet again in Friday's quarterfinals.

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