Making the cut



They have to make the cut.
Athletes who wrestle start to lose weight, or “cut weight” to categorize themselves into different weight classes starting at any age, but it is primarily implemented at the middle school level. For wrestlers, cutting weight is a step into the next level of wrestling.

Senior Cole Smith has been wrestling for 12 years and went through the transition himself.

“Cutting weight is a big part of the sport when you become a real wrestler instead of a participant,” Smith said. “People cut weight to get lean and to wrestle people more their size to be at the top of their class.”

At the varsity level, there is one varsity wrestler for each weight class, ranging from 106 to 258 pounds. If there are two athletes in the same weight class, they will wrestle each other. The winner will compete at the varsity level that week and the loser will wrestle JV.

According to stat girl Taylor Mckee, there are physical assessments at the beginning of the season that allow each athlete to see which weight class they can wrestle at to be their best competitively and for their own health. According to sophomore Travis Wittlake Jr., the weight of each wrestler is recorded throughout the season by head coach Travis Wittlake Sr.

“Every day after practice we all go in the locker room and get on the scale and he [Coach Wittlake]  writes down each kid’ s weight,” Wittlake Jr. said.

There are varying methods to cut weight, but the most effective is good diet and exercise, according to Wittlake Jr.

“You gotta eat right, eat healthy food and drink water. You can’t be putting bad stuff in your body that keeps your weight up,” Wittlake Jr. said. “[It is important to] maintain fruits, vegetables, rice, chicken and lightweight food and then you will lose weight throughout the week, while working out.”

Smith said the majority of the weight lost is water, which causes a fluctuation in weight depending on one’s hydration. After weigh-ins, it is typical for wrestlers to gain some weight back after drinking water.

“I usually cut eight to ten pounds a week. It’s mostly water. It’s about changing your diet and working out. If you’re eating right it’s easy to cut weight,” Smith said.

According to sophomore Will Forbes, there are ways to cut weight that might damage one’s health, such as restricting food and water or using a sauna, laxatives or sweat suits to quickly lose water weight. Wittlake Jr. said efficient methods to cut weight are shared among teammates, and while there are unhealthy ways to go about it, it is not a problem at Marshfield.

“I’ve traveled all around the country so I’ve seen a lot of kids do bad stuff to their bodies,” Wittlake Jr said. “There’s no reason to do that to your body if you’re doing it right.”

Another source the wrestlers use as examples are professional athletes.

“Sometimes we look it up online. There are Olympic wrestlers that have these things that they do and what they eat throughout the week.” Forbes said. “[Jordan Burroughs is] an Olympic champ. His article was about losing weight and how he didn’t recommend cutting a bunch of weight, but just maintaining your weight throughout the season.”

The work the athletes put in to lose weight comes into play during weigh-ins.

In a typical meet scenario, weigh-ins could be at seven in the morning, so a wrestler would get up an hour and a half in advance to check their weight. If they are overweight, they would get a quick workout in to ensure they will make weight.

To wrestle at their weight class, they cannot exceed their weight even by 1/10 of a pound.

According to Smith, it takes mental toughness to be able to have the self-control the wrestlers must have.

“Wrestling is a mental game. You have to be mentally tough because you see everyone else eating all that stuff that you can’t have and you just have to sit there and deal with watching it because you can’t have it,” Smith said.

Smith said Wittlake Sr. has instilled a steadfast mentality into his athletes.

“I have never missed weight. I always make it,” Smith said. “Making weight, Travis says it’s a mental thing. You just have to get tough and do it. Missing weight is not an option.”page 8