HS & MS WEIGHT CERTIFICATION
Beginning with the 2006-2007 Wrestling Season the PIAA adopted a new weight certification process for high school and middle wrestlers. Through this process an athlete must have their body fat calculated while under hydrated conditions. The athlete will urinate into a specimen cup. The trainer will determine with the use of a refract meter if the student is adequately hydrated. If the student is not adequately hydrated they must wait an additional 24 hours before being re-evaluated. If the wrestler passes the hydration test, three skin fold caliper measurements are taken. These measurements will be used to average and calculate their current body fat %. Their weight is also taken at this time. This weight is what will become known as their 'alpha weight'. The alpha weight is their starting weight. This weight is also used in the calculation of the wrestler's minimum weight.
Passing the hydration test by adequately hydrating - About half of any random group of people would be, by medical standards, dehydrated. This has nothing to do with the person being a wrestler, or an athlete. A large portion of our population just doesn't get enough water. Many times feelings of hunger are actually a sign of dehydration. To assure the student is adequately hydrated they need to increase their intake of water. Additionally, they should refrain from drinking sugared drinks, 'pop', sport drinks, and juice that has not been diluted. You should also eliminate junk food and high amounts of carbohydrates 24 hours prior to the test. The best advice to pass the test and establish good practice over the season is eat good foods and drink lots, and lots, and lots of water.
The rest of the process - Once the wrestler is found to be adequately hydrated they will now have their body fat determined. To determine their body fat the certified athletic trainer will take skin fold measurements at three locations on the body. He/she will take three trials at each of these three locations and average the sum of the three measurements to establish consistency and a valid test.
Once this body fat % is assessed a certified minimum weight is established the athletic trainer may enter the athlete's data in the Optimal Performance Calculator (O.P.C.). The O.P.C. is a secured, online database. The database will then calculate the maximum amount of weight the athlete can lose safely throughout the length of the season. There are also limitations as to how much the athlete can lose safely from one weigh-in to the next.
After each competition the coaches will enter the exact weight for each wrestler in the O.P.C. Based on that weight the wrestler weighed in at the O.P.C will calculate what the wrestler may safely lose before the next weigh-in. This is usually no more than 2.5 pounds for the heavyweights and possibly 1/2 of a pound for the little guys. The formula is basically no more than 1% of their overall weight in a 7 day period. It also limits the overall weight the wrestler is permitted to weigh down to their minimal wrestling weight. Remember this is calculated at the beginning of the season when the wrestler's original 'alpha weight and body fat % is taken.
The wrestlers are never permitted to wrestle at a weight class lower than the minimum weight established for that weigh in. They may weigh less, which actually happens quite often, but they are not allowed to participate at the lower weight class. The wrestler also may not drop below their minimum weight once it is calculated. To receive more information on this topic one can reference the PIAA Site and navigate to the following information:
PIAA Weight Control Guidelines http://piaa.org/assets/web/documents/Wrestling_Weight_Program.pdf
PIAA Weight Control Program Questions and Answers http://piaa.org/assets/web/documents/Q_and_A_for_the_web.pdf
PIAA Weight Control Program Timeline http://piaa.org/assets/web/documents/weight_control_timeline.pdf