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Wrestlers find healthy ways to cut weight Julianne Micoleta Editor-in-Chief Last year when sophomore Dominic Stacey lost his challenge match for the 106 lbs. starting match, he had one week to drop six pounds to wrestle at 100 lbs. So for one week this meant waking up early in the morning, running three miles, omitting carbohydrates, soda and red meat from his diet, working extremely hard at practice and then running again after dinner. Why? “Because I love to wrestle,” Stacey said. Stacey is among the wrestlers at Elk Grove and throughout the nation who cut weight, the practice of shedding pounds in a matter of days before competition in order to compete at a lower weight class and theoretically have an advantage over their opponents. However, according to varsity coach Phil Winter, the decision to cut weight is entirely on the wrestler. “We leave that up to the athletes themselves,” Winter said. “If they decide that they want to try to drop down to a lower weight, then they can.” And this is exactly what Stacey did as he went on last year to only lose four matches. Now, after growing quite a bit over the summer and spending five weeks at a wrestling camp at Prospect, Stacey is looking to compete at 126 lbs. Though with this come regulations set by the Illinois High School Association on how to cut weight properly. “The state mandates how low a student can go, and they also mandate how quickly they can drop the weight,” Winter said. Out of concern for the safety of the young people who participate in wrestling programs, the IHSA Wrestling Weight Control Program is designed to determine the minimum weight class a wrestler may participate in throughout the season. The

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Information compiled by Patrick O’Malley

Franco Grecco says “just go hard at practice.” Grecco, who has had experience jumping around weight classes, emphasized losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean that a person needs to stop eating. “You just eat smaller meals and drink more water before a meet or a tournament,” Grecco said. Aside from the weight factor, other elements that the wrestlers have been focusing on this year is their technique. “Were still developing a Photo by Alex Ostrowski lot of the fundamentals that SLIM-FAST: Sophomore Dominic Stacey (right) practices hand fighting after school. we want everybody to have Wrestlers keep a strict diet and exercise regimen in order to cut weight. down,” Winter said. “We probably won’t reach that establishment of a minimum weight class kind of weight loss,” Porter said. “It’s usuis based on a body fat measurement of 7 ally best to do it slow and if you’re looking point that where where we feel fully depercent for male wrestlers and 12 percent for more permanent results, slower is al- veloped until almost until after Christmas for female wrestlers. ways better because when you drop weight break.” Among those who are on their way to At the beginning of the season, each fast you’re most likely going to gain it just being well versed in those techniques are wrestler is required to see the athletic as fast or faster.” trainer and take a hydration test which will A conscientious diet and hard work is Ebert and senior Mikey Maize. “Both of these guys are really coming determine if they are able to take the skin- also a simple way to shed the pounds, Winalong really quickly,” Winter said. “They’re fold test in their adomen, triceps and back, ter said. which determines each wrestler’s body fat “You just got to eliminate the pop and like sponges. Every new little piece of techpercentage. the junk food, but really we try to encour- nique that we throw at them they drill very “Then we put them into the IHSA age the guys to be eating as much of the hard on and we see them in the room imwebsite and it does all of the calculations healthy food that they want,” Winter said. mediately trying to implement it in their for us and then it spits out information on “And if they’re working really hard in the matches.” Because according to Winter, like what points during the season can certain practice room, the weight just naturally weight and like techniques, small differencwrestlers wrestle in certain weight classes, comes off.” which is good because it prevents wrestlers Someone who is looking to cut weight es in wrestling can make all the difference from having to cut 15 lbs. three days be- in the near future is senior Jon Ebert, who in the world when it comes to the outcome fore to make weight,” athletic head trainer recently won first place at the Garrent of a match. And for Stacey, running that extra mile Mike Porters said. Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 25, is Porters also adds that it is beneficial for looking to drop 12 lbs., from 182 lbs. to or passing up on that bag of chips is what will put him in a better position to defeat the safety of other wrestlers as well because wrestle in the 170 lbs. weight class. then future opponents are not going to However, Ebert isn’t one for a strict his opponent on the mat. “When I wake up in the morning I wrestle others who weighed 180 lbs. three diet regimen or specific work outs. days ago who now weigh 165 lbs. “Just don’t eat anything from a restau- do think that I should just lay back down For proper weight loss, Porter recom- rant or fast food and just do workouts that and sleep for another hour,” Stacey said. mends that losing weight over a period of work every single muscle in your body,” he “And I sometimes would want something to eat, but then I think ‘This is all so that time is key. said. “Avoid excessive dehydration for any Or as sophomore varsity wrestler you could wrestle.”

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Wrestlers find healthy ways to cut weight