States will have a choice of 12, 13 or 14 weight classes for both boys and girls competition in high school wrestling, effective with the 2023-24 season. The National Federation of State High School Associations Wrestling Rules Committee announced the change after its recommendation from the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and its approval by the NFHS Board of Directors.
This will be the first separate weight classes established for girls in high school wrestling, and it marks the first time that state associations will have a choice in the number of weight classes.
States must select one of the three sets (12, 13 or 14) of weight classes for girls and one of the three sets (12, 13 or 14) for boys. States cannot adopt all three sets and cannot switch back and forth during the season.
The following weight classes (in pounds) were established for girls competition (girls wrestling girls), effective July 1, 2023:
The following weight classes (in pounds) were established for boys competition (boys wrestling boys or girls wrestling boys), effective July 1, 2023:
The recommended weights were established based on more than 215,000 assessments from the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
In another major change affecting risk assessment, a separate 5-minute time-out has been established for the onsite health-care professional to evaluate potential head and neck injuries involving the cervical column (HNC) and/or nervous system.
As a result of the separate HNC time-out, which takes effect next year, a number of other rules in the 2021-22 NFHS Wrestling Rules Book will be altered.
The other significant change in high school wrestling rules for 2021-22 addresses the number of matches allowed in one day of competition. Currently, no wrestler shall represent the school in more than one weight class in any meet or wrestle in more than five matches, excluding forfeits, in any one day of competition.
A change provides an exception to Rule 1-4-3 as follows: “No wrestler shall wrestle in more than six matches (championship or consolation), excluding forfeits, in any one day of a tournament conducted by the state high school association for qualification to the state high school championships or the specific state championships.”
This change was enacted as a result of a successful experiment by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. Hopkins said that increasing the number of matches from five to six would allow postseason tournaments with more than eight competitors in a weight class to complete the tournament in one day. He said, in many cases, this change would eliminate the need for schools to stay overnight to participate in respective state qualifying tournaments and state championship events.
Two other minor changes were made in the rules for next year. Rule 4-5-7 no longer will require low-cut socks to be worn as a part of the weigh-in procedure, and one change was made in Rule 5-1-1 dealing with choice of position during bad time.