Six wrestling programs were penalized by the LHSAA last week for infractions concerning the sport’s weight control program.
Zachary, Dutchtown, Holy Cross and Basile each committed one violation, South Plaquemines had two and North Vermilion had three infractions.
Each LHSAA wrestler is required to take a body fat assessment test and pass a hydration level test before he or she participates in a competition. During that test, after urine analysis determines hydration (it cannot exceed 1.025 on a refractometer), a wrestler’s height and age are recorded before he or she steps on a body fat scale.
Male wrestlers with less than seven percent body fat and female wrestlers with less than 12 percent are not permitted to lose weight — their weight at the time of the test is their minimum weight for the season.
Others with more body fat are given an ideal wrestling weight — the lowest weight they are permitted to reach all season — and a daily weight loss plan is formulated so that it does not exceed 1.5 percent per week, thereby preventing drastic weight loss by unhealthy measures.
The plan breaks down what the wrestler’s minimum weight is on each day of the season — even nonmatch days.
“There were college kids and high school kids that were dying because of rapid weight descent,” said LHSAA assistant executive director BJ Guzzardo. “This was put into place to save lives and make kids healthy.”
Zachary, North Vermilion, Basile and South Plaquemine were all penalized for athletes wrestling at a weight that exceeded the 1.5 percent descent rate. Dutchtown had a wrestler above weight exceeding descent rate. All of those wrestlers are to be held out of competition until they reach the 1.5 percent descent rate.
Athletes who wrestle below their ideal weight at any time in an interscholastic match, are ineligible for the state tournament, per the LHSAA handbook.
A Basile wrestler was ruled ineligible for the remainder of the 2015-16 season after the athlete wrestled below the minimum weight class.
Wrestlers are also permitted to compete at just one weight class above their minimum weights. North Vermillion and Holy Cross were cited for wrestlers competing two or more weight classes above what they qualified for. If it occurs again, wrestlers may be ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season, according to the notice of violation.
“We’re trying to monitor this thing the best we can because toward the end of the season last year, we found tons and tons of violations,” Guzzardo said. “We got TrackWrestling on board with us, four guys that check this thing pretty regularly, and as we catch these violations or things out of whack, we notify the schools and we try to get them corrected.”
TrackWrestling is an Internet program where coaches are required to enter their wrestlers’ weights after each prematch weigh in — to ensure they are all on track to not exceed 1.5 percent on their descent rate.
South Plaquemines coach Paul Dugas and North Vermillion coach Michael Stelly were cited for not entering information.
Stelly, according to the notice of violation, did not enter information for matches on Dec. 5 and Dec. 9. Dugas neglected to enter information on Nov. 24. Wrestlers whose information was not entered were to be held out of matches until the information was entered and their 1.5 percent descent rate was met.
For its three violations, North Vermillion was fined a total of $700. Holy Cross, Zachary and Dutchtown each accrued $200 fines while South Plaquemines was fined $350 for its two violations.