Weight and wrestling.
They are two words that go hand in hand. Part of it is obvious -- wrestlers compete at certain weight classes. The other part might also be obvious if given some thought, at least at the high school level. These are growing teenagers, after all.
Some wrestlers might jump up a weight class or two from the class they competed in last year. That's natural. I get that.
But what I don't understand are those grapplers who don't gain any weight from year to year. Or those who skip quite a few notches up in weight class.
I guess some just hit a growth spurt early in life and don't grow a single inch or add a single pound in their latter years of high school, while others hit a growth spurt in their later teens. Who knows?
Either way, the jumps in weight are clearly playing a role in my first edition of the weekly 2012-2013 York-Adams League individual wrestling rankings.
Of the 42 wrestlers ranked (the top three in each of the 14 weight classes), there are just 12 that competed at the same weight class last year -- that's excluding the four first-year starters included the rankings.
OK. I know that means 38 of the 42 wrestlers ranked competed in the York-Adams League last year. But that's just how it works this early in the season.
Sure, the progress wrestlers have made in the first couple weeks of this season is taken into account. Some have already racked up top-three finishes in some notable tournaments. And many are still undefeated this year.
Those accolades are factored into the rankings, as are the accomplishments of last season. It just wouldn't be smart to ignore what's already been done by, say, a Chance Marsteller, the 170-pound Kennard-Dale junior phenom who is a perfect 90-0 in scholastic competition and already has two District 3 and two state titles to his name. Or those of Eastern York senior Alex Cooley, who will test his talents at 195 pounds this year after earning a bronze at the District 3-AA tournament and finishing fifth at states as a 182-pounder last season.
That's not to say the rankings won't change. As the season progresses, some of the top wrestlers in each weight class will likely get a chance to square off on the mat. The rankings will be adjusted accordingly based on those results.
Heck, the top two grapplers in the 160-pound weight class are a reflection of Fairfield's Nick Mort beating Northeastern's Jeb Payne, 3-0, for the gold medal at the Carlisle Invitational over the weekend.
Just like the weight changes in grapplers from year to year, the rankings will likely fluctuate between now and the end of the season. And that's really the time of the year when wrestlers should want to be the best in their weight class, anyway.
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go here for the full rankings.