Dropping weight is part of being a wrestler, but the Minnesota State High School League is dropping an entire weight class.
The league’s Board of Directors approved a proposal to return to 13 weights at its scheduled meeting Feb. 2 for both boys and girls starting in the 2023-24 school year.
The last time wrestling in the state was 13 weight classes was in 2001-02 season. It’s been 14 weights since. Wrestling went to three classes at the start of the 1996-97 school year.
There were only two classes and 12 weight classes from 1976 to 1988. There was only one class and 12 weights from 1938 to 1975.
The newly-approved format comes as a result of a National Federation of High School wrestling rules modification that requires each state association to select the number of weight classes for its state at 12, 13 or 14.
The board used information from a survey of member schools and a recommendation from the league’s Wrestling Advisory Committee to return to 13 weights.
“The Board of Directors are so grateful for the valued input from the member schools and the thoughtful analysis from the wrestling advisory committee,” said league President Troy Stein, the activities director at Edina High School. “This approved plan brings alignment, consistency and continued opportunities for student participants.”
The approved weight divisions for boys are: 107 pounds, 114, 121, 127, 133, 139, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215 and 285 (heavyweight).
For girls wrestling, there are currently 12 weight classes. There will be 13 next year: 100, 106, 112, 118, 124, 130, 136, 142, 148, 155, 170, 190 and 235.
According to the league, feedback via surveys from member schools in November showed there was a clear preference for 13 weight classes when boys wrestle boys or when girls wrestle boys. While surveyed member schools preferred remaining at 12 weights for girls wrestling, 76 percent of the responses indicated openness to moving to 13.
Last winter was the first-ever league-sanctioned girls wrestling tournament. It ran concurrently with the boys individual tourney. Forty-six girls competed.
Minnesota became the 30th state to have a sanctioned girls high school wrestling tourney, including North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Girls still train and compete with their respective boys teams during the regular season, competing on the varsity or junior varsity. However, after the season, they have the option of competing in a girls-only individual section and state tournaments or continue competing with the boys.
Last year and this season, there are two sections for girls to compete for state berths. Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 are together, while Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 are together.
With the increase in participation on the girls side, next year’s postseason will be expanded from two combined sections to four, which will more than double the number of state qualifiers
In the format now, 48 girls compete at state. Next year, that number will jump to 104 with four sections and one more weight class.
On the boys side, there are a total of 224 individual wrestlers at state in the 14 weights. With the elimination of one, that number will drop to 208.