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Wrestling rule changes approved by national federation

East Hartford’s Jaeckez Mendez (top) controls Southington’s Josh Howard in the finals at 138 pounds in February’s Class LL championship meet in Trumbull.  Mendez won, 8-4. (Photo courtesy Leigh Busby)

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) wrestling rule committee made 12 revisions to scholastic wrestling regulations for the upcoming season, including allowing high school wrestlers to wrestle six matches in any one day of competition beginning in December.

The wrestling committee made 12 revisions to the rules that were all approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, it was announced in a news release from NFHS. Expect to see these changes in Connecticut next winter. A CIAC spokesman said that the state follows NFHS guidance on rules.

The six-match limit includes championship and consolation matches and excludes forfeits. The issue of a sixth match usually pops up during regular season tournaments in the consolation bracket. That’s why some third place and fifth place matches in Saturday tournaments would be cancelled because one of the wrestlers had already wrestled five times in a single day.

The increase from five to six matches for regular season competition follows the change two years ago which permitted six matches in any one day of tournament competition. With experiments conducted last year by state associations with no reported injuries, the committee thought the increase to six for regular-season competition was a natural progression.

With risk minimization in mind, the committee also approved Rule 1-4-7, which states that no contestant shall wrestle in more than 10 matches in two consecutive days.

The committee expanded the definition of forfeit in Section 13 to include a medical forfeit, which would not count against a wrestler’s record.

The new language states that “it shall be considered a medical forfeit when the opponent fails to appear for a match due to injury or illness that occurred during the tournament. This determination will be made by the tournament director.”

Facial hair will be allowed and the amount of time of rest required between matches was reduced from 45 minutes to 30 minutes. The committee said the sentiment was that 30 minutes was sufficient rest between matches.

A complete listing of the wrestling rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Wrestling.”

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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