Truckee wrestling preview: A steady diet of weight control
Truckee wrestling numbers are down this winter, but the optimistic outlook for the new season revolves around a new weight management system that is making the sport safer on both the collegiate and high school levels.
“The NCAA college system has gone to this because in the past they’ve had a few deaths,” said Truckee head coach Ron Curtis. “And the state of Nevada has had one (on the high school level) ” a Lowry kid ” probably 10 or 15 years ago. Because of that, they really started looking at the weight programs.”
The first step of the new program involves testing a wrestler’s hydration. The athlete must perform a urine test that passes a pH test; the wrestler only has to pass this portion of the program once at the beginning of the season. The second part of the test involves measuring age, height, weight and body fat content. These numbers determine a minimum amount of weight the wrestler can lose over the course of the season, therefore making the sport safer for competitors who sometimes take the constraints of the sport to the edge.
“Over the years, there have been so many abuses of the weight-assessment programs,” said Curtis, who has been coaching high school wrestling since 1985. “Kids starve themselves, and when you do that the body starts looking for calories. So it starts tearing down the muscles. (At tournaments), you see a lot of kids run out of gas on the mat.”
One of the criticisms of wrestling has always been the pressure put on athletes to drop weight to move down to lighter weight classes. The new program is meant to curb this pressure.
“It’s good for the safety of kids,” Curtis said. “The parents love it because that’s always been a negative part of wrestling; people don’t like to think about their kids losing too much weight.”
The wrestlers view it as a positive measure as well.
“It won’t allow a kid to be unhealthy and lose five or six pounds a week,” said Truckee senior and four-year wrestler Nathan Wrenn, “then come to a wrestling tournament dehydrated and passing out.”
The problem of wrestlers cutting weight is not specific to the Truckee program, however, because Curtis’ philosophy doesn’t condone it.
“Some programs push their kids to get the weights down, but I don’t,” Curtis said. “I just tell the kids to eat right, work hard, and the body fat will melt off because we work you hard here.”
Buck Claesson, a senior and four-year wrestler who hopes to contend for a state title in the 130-pound class, supports Curtis’ statement.
“We’ve never had a problem with kids dropping too much weight,” he said. “We don’t have enough people to where if you don’t drop weight, you won’t have a spot.”
Not having enough wrestlers, however, is a problem that has plagued the Wolverines’ program. Even last year, Curtis was suggesting that the main reason was the abolishment of a youth program in the Truckee area, specifically in the middle school.
“The kids’ program is really what made (the high school) program survive for a number of years,” said Curtis, who coached youth programs in the early ’80s. “Now I’m trying to campaign to get (a youth program) rolling again for the sake of the program. Because when I walk away, I’d hate to see the program drop.”
Truckee assistant and 1994 Truckee High graduate Art Lyon said he is trying to revitalize the Truckee junior high program.
Claesson, who has been in the program since 2001, said he has witnessed a decline in the interest of wrestling since his freshman year.
“We used to have a kids’ program going, so they started young and they’d be ready to go (by the time they got to high school),” he said. “But now we have to recruit freshmen, and some people are playing basketball or they’re just not interested.”
In fact, out of a small 13-person Truckee squad, there are no freshmen on the roster this season. Curtis said he will accept newcomers for the next month, but that situation doesn’t always work out either.
“A lot of the kids we have nowadays are beginner-kids that come out for a couple days and end up quitting,” Wrenn said. “The squad we have right now, hopefully we just stay tough and finish out the season.”
With the numbers so low, Truckee is forced to approach each season on a mostly individual-basis, even though the obvious intention of the coaches is to teach each individual to improve.
Claesson leads a list of Truckee hopefuls to win a state championship this year. After winning the state championship in the 112-pound class as a sophomore, Claesson had a down year in 2003-04. He started the season 18-0, but he took the success for granted, he said.
“I think I took it for granted that I was already a state champion and that it was going to be a repeat,” he said. “I didn’t come out completely prepared, and I got it handed to me.”
Claesson finished fourth in state last year in the 125-pound class. For Claesson, who said he would like to wrestle for Northern Idaho College in the future, said he thrives on the individual rush that defines the sport.
“I like the nervous feeling you get before you go out there,” said Claesson, who finished last season with a 31-12 record. “If you take state at wrestling, it’s huge because it’s one-on-one. You don’t have 10 other guys on the field. You know that you beat that kid.”
Sophomores Clayton Acuff and Tim Curtis are coming off solid freshman campaigns. Acuff will remain in the 103-pound class, while Curtis will move up significantly from 130 to 152 or higher.
Senior female wrestler Amy Watkins (112-pound class) returns for her fourth and final year, the only female to accomplish that feat at Truckee High School.
-URINE SPECIFIC GRAVITY:
Hydration is a critical component in the calculation of minimum wrestling weight. Hydration is measured by urine specific gravity (Usg). There are two accepted methods for determining Usg: Refractometer or urine dipstix. Athletes must be within acceptable levels of hydration for body fat testing to proceed.
-BODY FAT DETERMINATION:
At the start of the wrestling season, every wrestler will be weighed and will have his/her body fat determined using approved skinfold assessment techniques and procedures. The program requires that the body fat analysis be completed no earlier than one week prior to and no later than two weeks following the first official practice date.
-MINIMUM WRESTLING WEIGHT:
Utilizing the wrestler’s baseline weight and the body fat determination, the lowest weight at which the wrestler is able to compete is calculated.
-SCHEDULE OF WEIGHT LOSS:
The Weight Control Program allows athletes, who have body fat above the 7 percent for males and 12 percent for females, to lose a maximum of 1.5 percent of their baseline body weight per week. Coaches and athletes are provided with a schedule indicating an acceptable weight class for competition each week.
[*Information courtesy of Virginia High School League Web page.]
Day Date Opponent Time
Wed. Dec. 1 @ South Lake Tahoe 5:30 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 4 @ Yerington 9 a.m.
Wed. Dec. 8 @ Fernley 4 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 11 @ Reed 9 a.m.
M/T Dec. 20-21 @ ROP (Yerington) TBA
Sat. Dec. 30 @ Dayton 9 a.m.
Wed. Jan. 5 @ Quincy 5 p.m.
F/Sa. Jan. 7-8 @ Sparks 9 a.m.
Fri. Jan. 14 @ Tonopah 3 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 15 @ Tonopah 8 a.m.
Fri. Jan. 21 @ Fernley 4 p.m.
Sat. Jan. 22 @ Fernley 9 a.m.
Fri. Jan. 28 @ Spring Creek 11 a.m.
Sat. Jan. 29 @ Spring Creek 9 a.m.
Sat. Feb. 5 *@ Sparks 9 a.m.
F/Sa. Feb. 11-12 #@ Winnemucca 9 a.m.
*Northern 3A zone tournament
#3A state tournament
Day Date Opponent Time
Wed. Dec. 1 @ South Lake Tahoe 5:30 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 4 @ Hug 9:30 a.m.
Sat. Dec. 11 @ McQueen 9:30 a.m.
Sat. Dec. 18 @ Galena 9:30 a.m.
Sat. Jan. 8 @ Carson 9:30 a.m.
Sat. Jan. 29 *@ McQueen 9:30 a.m.