College Wrestling Guide

College wrestling is a form of amateur wrestling that involves athletes competing against one another under the supervision of a wrestling referee. It is a major factor in the development of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlers at the Olympic Games.

Is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. Despite its rapid growth, it remains on the outside looking in when it comes to mainstream funding and media attention.

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college wrestling fight

What Kind of Wrestling Is in College?

Collegiate wrestling is one of the few sports in existence where athletes participate at no cost. There is rarely any funding for collegiate programs, and when it does come, it often takes the form of donations from alumni or other benefactors.

This sport truly has an amateur-only model, unlike most major sports which use professional ranks to develop talent (e.g. football and baseball). Because of this, collegiate wrestlers are not paid for their participation in the sport at the college level.

Unlike pro wrestling, the lack of funding for collegiate wrestling is compounded by its lack of visibility on mainstream sports media outlets. For example, in a world where “March Madness” dominates the American sports scene from November through April, college wrestling is completely ignored.

Despite its immense popularity and large fan base, it’s simply not financially viable for most media outlets to dedicate time and money covering a niche sport such as college wrestling when there are “bigger fish to fry,” so to speak.

Collegiate wrestling is unique in that it features athletes of all different shapes, sizes, and styles:

There are wrestlers who use speed and strategy to outmaneuver their opponents (e.g., Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver). There are guys who rely on their superior brawn to overpower their foes (e.g., Penn State’s David Taylor). There are wrestlers who rely on their technical skills to wear down opponents (e.g., North Carolina State’s NCAA champion, Bradley Scott).

What Style Is Used in Collegiate Wrestling?

Collegiate wrestling is based on “folkstyle” from all the existing wrestling styles. In this popular style, athletes can use any number of holds and moves to knock down their opponent and earn a point, as long as the referee is able to maintain control of the game.

The rules may vary from state to state, but their overall goal is to make sure wrestlers are punished for inactivity.

Common Misconceptions About Collegiate Wrestling

1. ‘Collegiate wrestling doesn’t feature the flashiness of other sports’ 

This is an understandable assessment considering that you won’t find acrobatic dunks, full-extension catches, or 360 slam dunks in collegiate wrestling.

However, this doesn’t mean there’s a lack of explosiveness and athleticism on the mat. In fact, not only is each takedown an explosive movement but also features complex set-ups to even get wrestlers into position for a shot!

2. ‘There are no big names in collegiate wrestling

Despite being a niche sport, many of college wrestling’s biggest stars have gone on to have tremendous success in freestyle and Greco-Roman at the Senior Level.

World Champions such as John Smith, Cael Sanderson, Jeremy Hunter, Kurt Angle, and Kevin Jackson US Olympians such as Ben Askren, Dustin Fox, Kevin Jackson, Dave Schultz, Brandon Slay, Lincoln McIlravy US Junior World team members such as Kyle Dake national champions at the junior level  such as Alex Dieringer

3. ‘Collegiate wrestling isn’t very popular’

While collegiate wrestling may not have the same following as traditional college sports, it is still immensely popular. Each year, thousands of fans pack arenas to watch the top teams and wrestlers compete for championships.

For example, last year’s NCAA Championships drew over 22,000 people to St. Louis’ Scottrade Center, making it the highest-attended wrestling championship in NCAA history!

Is There an Age Limit for College Wrestling?

At the NCAA DI level, there is no age limit for wrestlers. While it’s not unusual to see seniors competing at the national level, many wrestlers also wrestle for two or three years and then leave to focus on their Olympic dreams.

After high school, males who want to continue wrestling must wrestle at the college level. For female wrestlers, the land of opportunity is much larger: there is no age limit and women can compete on the Senior level internationally.

Does College Wrestling Have Weight Classes?

Each weight class features athletes who are around the same size, making weight-cutting highly important. Without the strict weigh-ins that highlight competitions such as wrestling’s Olympic counterpart, freestyle wrestling, weight-cutting would become a much larger problem in college wrestling.

While there are no weight limits, a wrestler must compete in a lower-weight class if he or she is below the maximum weight for that class.

Does Collegiate Wrestle Use Points?

Yes, collegiate wrestling uses a points system to determine the winner of matches. There are four ways to accumulate points: takedowns, reversals, escapes, and penalties.

For every point acquired via a takedown (2 pts) or reversal (2 pts), one is deducted for an escape (-1 pt) or penalty (-2 pts).

How is College Wrestling Structured?

When someone first walks into a collegiate wrestling room, it might be difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on. The reason for this is that no two teams are alike. While there are similarities between programs, each team has its own unique character; some of which make them more successful than others.

If you talk with ten wrestling coaches, you will likely get ten different answers about practices. However, there are some commonalities that the majority of teams share.

Every Division I program is allowed nine full-time assistant coaches and another four graduate assistants who work both camps and during the season.

During the offseason, collegiate wrestlers train year-round with their teams. While many wrestlers will join an off-campus club, it’s not uncommon for some to stay on campus and get even more mat time during the summer months.

During the season, practices often feature a morning session in which there is a lighter workout focusing on technique and drilling but also includes high-intensity conditioning. The afternoon session is much more intense and focuses on live wrestling with coaches breaking down the action during periods of rest.

Who Is the Number 1 Wrestler in College?

Nick Suriano is the number one wrestler in college wrestling. Right now he is competing at 125lbs for Rutgers (he started his career at Penn State).

Who Is Undefeated in College Wrestling?

Cael Sanderson is undefeated in college wrestling. He was a four-time All-American at Iowa State and went undefeated his senior year. He is currently an assistant coach at Penn State.

John Smith is another wrestler who is undefeated in college wrestling he won five national titles as a student-athlete at Oklahoma State University and then coached there for 21 years.

Who Has the Best Record in College Wrestling History?

Oklahoma State University, under the leadership of John Smith, has won 15 national titles and has the best record in college wrestling history.

What Is a Major Decision in College Wrestling?

A major decision is awarded to a wrestler who scores more than 12 points in a single period. It’s worth three points in high school and two in college.

Here Are Some Stats on College Wrestling:

– There are currently 11 varsity-level programs that sponsor men’s wrestling at an NCAA school. That includes Grand Canyon University, which is one of the newest Division I programs.

– More than 350 NCAA member institutions sponsor a wrestling program at the club level, including 33 that offer scholarships to men and/or women. – There are approximately 3 million wrestlers currently participating in high school competitions. – In addition, there are more than 40,000 collegiate wrestlers competing each year.

High school wrestlers compete in 3,000 matches each year throughout the U.S.

– The National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) is one of two national governing bodies for collegiate wrestling, the other being the NCAA. Although they share many similarities, there are some distinct differences between them. The NCWA does not use a standardized wrestling mat, wrestler’s uniform, or ruleset.

College Wrestling Gear

When it comes to wrestling gear, wrestlers have the option of choosing between wearing a singlet or tight-fitting shorts and a compression shirt. The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee recently approved the use of short-sleeve T-shirts underneath the uniform for additional support/protection.

To improve safety, wrestlers can choose to wear specially designed plastic helmets that meet the approval of the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).