High school newspaper story:

Wrestling season tests the willpower and strength of every individual who participates. There comes a time every year where wrestlers begin working out and changing their bodies to meet personal goals and break records. From diet changes to weigh-ins this sport creates a certain level of intensity for every wrestler on the mat.

“Our kids have been really good this year about maintaining their weight and not letting themselves go. We have a good group of five seniors who set a good example of maintaining weight,” Coach Schumacher said.

A big part of wrestling is whether a wrestler meets a certain weight class or not. There are 14 different weight classes a wrestler can participate in ranging from 106 pounds to 285 pounds in high school wrestling. This means the wrestler has to cut or gain weight for each individual dual. It is a key component to whether a wrestler succeeds or not.

“Everyone wants to get to a desired weight where they think they’d perform the best and have a good chance at state,” sophomore Anthony Tucci said.

The wrestling programs nowadays are made to help wrestlers stay healthy and reasonable when dieting.

“Cutting and gaining weight was more of an old time thing. Now the state has a program that tells them what they can lose in a week. I have to weigh them every week when they are fully hydrated,” Coach Schumacher said.

Rule changes are also being made every one or two years to make the wrestling program better.

“The progress has definitely changed and that is because the rules. The National Federation changes the rules for this sport and it makes the kids move a lot more. The rules really pertain that you have to move,” Schumacher said.

Choosing what weight class to participate in depends on the wrestler. Every person has a different method to the sport.

“Personally I would like to be in a higher class. You don’t have to cut as much weight,” senior Trey Dasher said.

For Dasher, this method has taken him far. During his sophomore year he went from 185 pounds to 145 pounds. This made it hard for him to wrestle because he had no energy. As a junior he stayed his normal weight and won a lot of matches and even made it to state. For sophomore Ryan Plambeck, however a different method is used.

“I’d rather be in a lower weight class because i’ll be stronger than the lighter guys,” Plambeck said.

In order to wrestle in a higher or lower weight class, every wrestler must meet their desired weight. Each wrestler is able to choose his own weight, and if he doesn’t make that weight class he either can’t wrestle which makes his opponent win by a forfeit win, or has to move up a weight class.

“I don’t tell a wrestler that he has to make a certain weight so if he doesn’t, we will talk about whether he can continue in that weight class or not. If he can’t, we move him up a weight class and try to see the reason behind not making weight,” Schumacher said.

Dieting and developing methods of losing weight is an important part of keeping a wrestler healthy and ready to wrestle.

“I don’t know about the other guys but mine is lean chicken breast and some veggies. Not eating does nothing for you. It just makes you weak,” Tucci said.

Plambeck eats a little differently, but still makes sure to add protein into his meals.

“I usually eat one slim fast and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch,” Plambeck said.

Eating right is not the only important component in cutting weight and getting ready for duals. Doing the right workouts and staying fit is also important.

“It’s all about keeping a good diet and working hard at practice and workouts,” Tucci said.

Completely changing the way a person eats and exercises can have a big impact on the wrestler. This is especially true if the wrestler is cutting weight. Not being able to eat as much as desired causes the wrestlers to lose focus and energy.

“It makes you feel really weak. It’s hard to stay awake in school because you don’t eat so you don’t have any energy,” Dasher said.

When a wrestler cuts weight it not only makes things at school hard, but duals as well. If a wrestler has cut more than 15 pounds it begins to have a huge effect.

“It makes me feel a lot skinnier,” Plambeck said.

People may wonder why wrestlers put their bodies through this dramatic change every year. The answer is simple, every wrestler wants to improve and do their best, whether it’s duels against other schools or competing at state.

“It’s definitely important. It could determine a state medal or not,” Dasher said.

There are many struggles to cutting or gaining weight for wrestling season. Temptations are all around wrestlers whether its food or playing video games instead of practicing.

“The hardest part is getting to not eat your favorite foods and there is no easy part just more satisfaction when you make weight,” Tucci said.

Sacrifices are made when wrestling season begins. Everyone’s favorite things are now temptations. For Tucci it’s chocolate, and for Plambeck it’s cookies and ice cream.

“I always crave beef jerky, pizza, and cheeseburgers,” Dasher said.

Seeing all of the hard work these young wrestlers put into this sport is a very cool experience for the Schumacher.

“I love seeing the kids two or three years afterwards, they still call me coach and will even hand me their babies right away because of the trust you build over the years. They know how much I cared for them,” Schumacher said.

Wrestling puts every persons body through extremes and pushes them to be the strongest wrestler they can possibly be. With cutting and gaining weight comes many temptations and a lot of hard work. All of this is worth it to the wrestlers at Bellevue West, because performing to the best of their abilities is their number one priority.


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