By Wayne Bennett
For The Register-Herald
Over the years, high school wrestling has used various methods in determining a match winner in case of a tie. After many trial years of using methods from a referee’s decision to some type of rule book criteria, I think they now have the fairest way to determine a winner.
If the score is tied at the end of the regulation match, wrestlers are placed in a neutral one-minute period. The first wrestler to score, wins. If the score is still tied, the wrestlers will go to two 30-second tie breakers, one starting on the bottom and switching to top position the next round.
If the score is still tied, they will go to the ultimate tie breaker. The wrestler who scored the first point in the match will have a choice of top or bottom for 30 seconds. If the top man holds his opponent down, he wins. Most coaches I have talked to agree this is the fairest way to determine a winner.
Two state championship matches which might have had different outcomes if today’s rules applied were held in 1958 and 1959 in the unlimited class.
In 1958, Beckley’s Duke James and Parkersburg’s George Nedeff wrestled to a 2-2 tie in the heavyweight championship bout. Nedeff was declared the winner by a referee’s decision. Believe me, this is not a position any referee wants to be in.
In 1959, Nedeff returned to the finals to defend his title against Bob Delorenzo of Fairmont. Delorenzo won the finals after two overtime periods by a score of 4-2.
Nedeff went on to wrestle and coach at West Virginia University. He also wrote the book, “The Emergence of High School Wrestling in West Virginia.”
Delorenzo became a successful coach and referee and was elected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. Nedeff received the same recognition in 2008.
James went on to wrestle at the Naval Academy. After serving a stint in the Navy, he refereed and coached in the Virginia Beach area.
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This weekend will be a busy one for local wrestling teams.
The WSAZ Invitational will take place on Friday and Saturday. Local high schools participating are Liberty, Independence, Shady Spring, Woodrow Wilson, Wyoming East and Nicholas County. Local middle schools attending are Shady Spring, Trap Hill, Park, Collins, Independence, Western Greenbrier and Eastern Greenbrier.
Greenbrier East is going to Christiansburg, Va., and Greenbrier West to Calhoun County.
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This week a squeeze of the water bottle goes to Gene Wiseman, a former wrestler at Woodrow Wilson and an avid reader of this column.