BLOG: Pa. wrestlers get weight relief in coming days

Patrick Strohecker

During the holiday season, many people forget about diets and indulge themselves a little.

From Thanksgiving through Christmas, packing on the pounds becomes all too familiar for many folks.

Then, with the start of the new year, they go back to watching their weight again.

For local high school wrestlers, however, the holiday season can be a tortuous one. They are forced to watch friends and family, with no regard for their growing waistlines, shovel food into their mouths. The wrestlers, meanwhile, must measure every parcel they ingest with precision.

Maintaining a specific weight for the season can be as much a battle as what they endure on the mat.

However, after Thursday's bouts, York-Adams League wrestlers, and high school wrestlers all over Pennsylvania, can go into their holiday breaks without caring quite as much about their intake of calories.

Spring Grove's Dalton Rohrbaugh, right, will only need to weigh-in at 113 pounds one more time this season before the two-pound allowance takes effect around the Christmas break. Amanda J. Cain photo.

Within the next few days, the two-pound allowance rule will take effect in high school wrestling, essentially giving wrestlers an extra two pounds to play with at every weight class.

"I think that it gives our kids a little bit of relief around the half-season mark," Spring Grove senior Jared Barley said.

It just so happens that the two-pound allowance falls in line with Christmas.

However, it wasn't always like that.

It wasn't long ago that the two-pound allowance wrestlers receive occurred later in the season, falling some time in January. That meant a holiday season filled with maintaining weight and not getting to enjoy the holiday feasts. It also created problems around the states for top programs, such as the Rockets, who would travel out of state and wrestle programs that were given a two-pound allowance before Pennsylvania schools got theirs.

"Pennsylvania has gotten smarter," Spring Grove head coach Tony Miller said. "They give it to us now at Christmas. Years ago, it used to be in mid-January and made no sense at all. We'd go wrestle in other states and they'd be getting holiday weight and extra weight and our guys were suffering. I think Jared hit it on the head, as it gives you a chance to take a breath from worrying about your weight all the time."

For someone such as Dalton Rohrbaugh, the Rockets' standout junior who wrestles at 113 pounds, he will be able to weigh as much as 115 pounds going into a match, without missing weight.

However, he's also seen other wrestlers take advantage of the allowance in other ways, like using it as a way to drop down to a more comfortable weight class without having to cut as many pounds.

"A lot of the kids use it as something that they can use to drop a weight class and not really eat a little bit more," he said.

However they choose to use it, the two-pound allowance is a benchmark in every season that high school wrestlers look forward to. Spring Grove's final match before the Christmas break, and before the two-pound allowance kicks in, is on Thursday night against Central York.

It'll be a welcome relief for every competitor to step on that scale for the last time before the break, knowing they'll have the allowance for the remainder of the season.

"I'm sure Dalton's going to be very happy when he weighs in for the last time at 113 (on Thursday) night, knowing he'll be able to eat two pounds at Christmas and enjoy it a little bit more," Miller said.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at pstrohecker@yorkdispatch.com.