High school wrestlers have become stronger and more technically advanced over the years.
“Wrestling is evolving all the time,” said Pomona coach Sam Federico, citing an increase in club and year-round participation.
Still, the basic moves from yesteryear remain the foundation of the sport.
Ponderosa coach Corey McNellis, a former two-time Colorado state champion wrestler, said you will see many of the same moves in matches today as years ago.
“In wrestling, long story short, it’s the same,” he said.
McNellis can list myriad tried-and-true moves. For example, there is the high C, which stands for high crotch, in which the wrestler reaches the inside of one of the opponent’s legs, and with knees bent low and head up, finds himself in a good position to earn takedown points.
Legacy coach Mike Thompson also agrees the best moves are the old ones, but said the setups have changed.
“I’ve been around wrestling since the ’70s and the best techniques are the ones that date back to the ’70s,” he said. “The biggest changes I’ve seen are the type of setups being used and the type of chain wrestling (method of linking offensive moves and counters together) being used and the scramble situations created by the chain wrestling.
“Some of that is due to the rules changes, and the positioning of a wrestler has changed a little bit, which creates a little bit more scrambling, but the actual move that is initiated is still the basic single, double, cradle and stuff like that. How it is set up and finished are some of the changes that have come in, which has also created some scramble situations and more need for chain wrestling.”
Chaparral coach Rod Padilla often spends practice sessions drilling his wrestlers on moves, counter moves and instruction on how to work out of situations, which is important once a wrestler is in a match and all it takes is a quick suggestion to start a new move.
While the basics haven’t changed, wrestlers are influenced to try new things.
“There will be waves of going to a different move that is more popular,” McNellis said. “Usually it has to do with if there is a popular Olympic wrestler who does something really well. Jordan Burroughs is right now the best in the world at the blast double. I’ve seen that trickle down. I’ve seen a lot of kids now hitting a blast double more than, say, a single or something like that.”
The blast double is a powerful takedown that looks a lot like a tackle in football, where the wrestler grabs both legs of the opponent and forces or tackles him to the mat.
Wrestling still comes down to mental and physical toughness and executing your best and favorite moves.
Mosha Schwartz, a 106-pounder from Ponderosa, knows what he likes.
“I like to go low singles and fireman’s maybe,” said Swartz, referring to the single-leg takedown and fireman’s carry moves. “It all depends on how guys are reacting to my moves.”