Wrestlers must feel entrapped through the first month of the season.
With Thanksgiving just before the start of the season, watching weight requires discipline for the grapplers to watch their weight. Adding to the food binge is Christmas, which is three weeks into the season.
Fallon’s wrestlers, though, have been training hard for the past several weeks, boosting their metabolism entering the year’s first meet on Saturday at the Earl Wilkens Memorial Tournament at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
“We really don’t get much leeway with weight,” Fallon coach Louie Mori said.
The holidays provide just another challenge along the way. The positive, Mori added, is his athletes have been training hard and burning calories before Saturday’s official weigh ins.
“Thanksgiving is not a big deal,” Mori said. “Because we have two weeks of practice, their bodies are so reeved up right now. You could feed them a lot of food and it (the body) just eats it up. Turkey is a good, lean protein. The metabolism is going crazy right now.”
Mori said he will speak with parents to stress the importance of a healthy diet to include carbohydrates and protein.
“They can’t get caught up in the adult diet thing,” he added. “Their bodies eat all that sugar and stuff. They can have the pastas and breads.”
Cutting weight is part of wrestling as much as takedowns and pins, but this year a new mechanism is in place to keep a watchful eye on the athletes. The sport in years past has been criticized for pushing athletes to cut weight.
Mori, though, said this season all wresters must undergo a strict weight loss plan if they intend to drop down to a lower weight class.
The system uses calibrated scales (as normally done for weigh ins), recorded and uploaded to a national database so state officials can monitor progress.
If an athlete fails to reach a lower weight, he must compete in the higher class for that week, which could mean giving up as much as five pounds.
Although five pounds doesn’t sound like much, in wrestling it is big. Less muscle and strength go a long way in the physical and endurance battle on the mat.
“The state gives them a program to follow to tell them how much weigh they can lose if they want to drop weight,” Mori added. “Some kids are too low (with) body fat and they say you have to stay where you’re at. It’s really strict and they will keep track.”
To move down a weight class, an athlete must already be on the correct program before they can wrestle in the desired division the following week.
“I think it’s going to be really good when it gets into effect,” Mori said. “It’s new because it’s going to be tracked now. I think it’s going to help kids already in good shape and good shape not to compete with guys 15 pounds heavier than them because they are cutting down a bunch of water weight.”
The test includes hydration and body fat percentage to ensure the safety of the athletes.