Making Weight



Randa Lee, Writer

Wrestling season has begun and with it brings injuries, grumpy moods, and empty stomachs. When you think of wrestling you don’t think of the layers upon layers of clothes participants wear while running four miles, the hollowness in their stomachs from the lack of food, or how they sleep with their windows open on bitter cold nights because the shivering helps them burn calories. We tend to not look behind the scenes to see what really goes on. No one wants to discuss the hidden workings of this historic high school sport and the challenging expectations these young athletes face.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), there are currently 14 weight classes ranging from 106 to 285 pounds. Making weight is very important for a wrestler because if they fail to do it they may lose their spot for the meet. This demanding task can mean that a wrestler who normally weighs 150 pounds might have to drop down to 135 to have a better chance of winning or to fill a spot that has not been filled on the team. This can be seen as quite controversial because it’s not just a “few” pounds; sometimes it’s 10, 15, or even 20. Those who have been wrestling for a while have mastered this skill of “making weight;” some can lose up to six pounds in one day.

There are, of course, good and bad ways to cut weight. The good ways are eating healthy and exercising appropriately, but the bad ways, which seem to be more popular among teams, consist of starving and exercising with excessive amounts of clothes on for hours. One Lake Fenton wrestler said that he has gone for five days straight without eating just to make weight. These athletes will starve for a week, weigh-in and, once they are cleared for their weight class, go out and binge eat- just to turn around and have to lose all the weight again for the next weigh-in. According to the Los Angeles Times, “It’s a vicious cycle: starve to lose weight, make weight, eat a pizza because you’re starving, gain a few pounds, starve to lose weight.

These unhealthy wrestling tactics not only affect their health, but they also affect their schooling. They become tired and mentally exhausted, causing them not to be able to function normally in class. They tend to not be able to focus and concentrate on their school work, causing their grades slip. Another Lake Fenton wrestler said that he has actually skipped half of the school day to go home and workout so that he would be able to make weight in time for the weigh-in. Wrestling is a sport that is very tolling on the athlete, as it affects their body and their health, along with their education and everyday life.