Weight, what? Liberty wrestlers obsess over weight classes

Gabrielle Parrish, Staff Writer

In this day and age, where high school students are taught the value of health and positive self-image over weight-related social pressures, there is one place where body weight is a warranted obsession: wrestling. In a sport that is fixated on weight classes, Liberty wrestlers find themselves monitoring their weights and working to hit the weight classes they believe will help them succeed in the sport.
“I have run a couple miles with hoodies and sweatpants on, wrestled with that on, skipped lunch, dinner, food, not drank water,” sophomore Austin Fong said. “If you’re over by even 0.1 pounds, then you have to wrestle up the next weight class.”
The sport of wrestling is organized into different weight classes that change every six pounds. As a result, being at the heavier end of a weight class can be a strong advantage to the wrestler. It gives you a likely size advantage against your opponent and more opportunity for muscle weight.
“If you want to be successful, you have to “cheat” the system by dropping into a weight class, where you shouldn’t be naturally, so you do better,” sophomore Philip Vu said.
The Liberty wrestlers’ commitment to stay in the weight class that will give them the highest chance at success demonstrates the team’s high level of dedication. From skipping meals and exercising to more creative methods, Liberty wrestlers are striving to achieve their weight goals.vvv
“One of the nastiest things I’ve seen kids do is put Starbursts in their mouth so they start salivating and spitting all of it back into a water bottle. It was disgusting,” senior Carson Armstrong said.
In regard to the health of the athletes, Liberty’s head wrestling coach explained that he would never force a student to change their weight class. Additionally, the rules in WIAA wrestling prohibit activities that might result in weight loss or dehydration after an athlete as stepped onto a scale and tried to make a weight class.
Despite the questionable health effects of changing weight classes, one thing is clear: Liberty’s wrestling team is dedicated to their sport, and the devotion seen on the team has led them to a successful season. At the wrestling Kingco meet, Liberty had eight individuals place and Armstrong, freshman Matthew Nonis, sophomore Tyler Robertson, senior Jacob Lex, senior Will Slaton, and senior Nic Gumm are moving on to state.