Weight cuts and takedowns

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Weight cuts and takedowns

Wrestlers use different methods to sweat out the last pounds needed to make their weight class.

Wrestlers use different methods to sweat out the last pounds needed to make their weight class.

Kevin Perez/ The Skyline View

Wrestlers use different methods to sweat out the last pounds needed to make their weight class.

Kevin Perez/ The Skyline View

Kevin Perez/ The Skyline View

Wrestlers use different methods to sweat out the last pounds needed to make their weight class.

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Wrestling is a mental challenge as much as it is a physical challenge.

One of the most grueling aspects of college wrestling is the weight cut. Strict diet and dehydration are a constant mental battle, clear on a wrestler’s face during the grind of a season.

Skyline wrestler Brady Green naturally walks roughly 10 pounds over his weight class. A few days before competition, he begins his weight cut and dehydrates his body.

“It feels terrible cutting weight,” Green said. “When you aren’t properly hydrated and nourished, it hinders your athletic ability. But everyone does it because it has to be done.”

Dehydrating your body is dangerous, but it is a quick way to lose the pounds you need to lose. Even though drying out limits the body from functioning at the highest level, many athletes still choose to push through with extreme weight cuts.

“I choose to sweat most of it out,” Green said. “A couple layers of sweaters, a couple layers of sweat pants, and I’ll get on the elliptical or treadmill to get a little sweat going. After my heart rate gets up I’ll hop in the sauna to sweat the rest out.”

In this weight class Green should feel bigger and stronger than those who naturally meet the requirements, but he does not see the advantage.

“The only reason I cut weight is because everybody does it,” Green said. “Naturally I weigh about 165. If I were to wrestle the 165 weight class I would actually be wrestling people who cut down from 175.”

As challenging as it is to lose the weight, the management afterwards can be just as hard. The grind of a wrestling season lasts five months and wrestlers are constantly managing there weight.

“The hardest part for me is trying not to gain too much weight again after weighing in,” Skyline wrestler Aaron Aquino said. “We have to do it all over again next week.”

The window to re-hydrate is small, and wrestlers are often not properly hydrated coming into competition.

The NCAA has placed tests and programs to restrict excessive weight loss. Wrestlers are required to take hydration and body weight tests to establish a minimum weight for the competition.

“We use the NCAA rules for weight management so they’re not free to cut to any weight class,” Head coach James Haddon said. “It’s based on hydration level and body weight. My philosophy is definitely to err less on weight loss. If it’s not long term weight it’s hurting the athlete.”

The wrestling season is a grind. Even with regulations passed by the NCAA, athletes push themselves mentally by meeting their minimum weight class.

“Wrestling season is the hardest part of the year,” Green said. “For one thing it’s the hardest sport in the world, and we don’t get to eat too much so we don’t always have the energy we should.”