Wrestling's enrollment cutoffs changed as proposal passes

State wrestling

(Tim Visser/TimVisserPhotography.com)

AURORA -- In an effort to even out the number of teams in each classification, wrestling will use its own enrollment number cutoffs to determine classes.

The change was made Thursday at CHSAA's Legislative Council meeting after a proposal suggesting the move passed. It means wrestling joins football as the only sports to have separate enrollment cutoffs. Every other sport uses figures primarily determined by the number of basketball schools in each classification.

Affected are classes 4A, 3A and 2A. The cutoff was not changed in 5A.

Had a change not been made, wrestling looking at a glaring disparity of teams in each classification. Specifically, Class 4A was set to have 71 teams while 3A would've had 38. With the change, 4A and 3A will each have 53 teams.

"It really helps 3A and 4A the most, because that's where the gross inequity is in terms of numbers," said CHSAA assistant commissioner Harry Waterman, who oversees wrestling. "When we follow a model based on basketball numbers, that where that falls, because there are 229 wrestling schools and seemingly everybody has a basketball program.

"This is really about making an individual sport more balanced. It does go against the philosophy of having every sport (use the same cutoff), but this is going to really help a lot."

Wednesday's proposal was a joint effort of the Intermountain, Northern and Colorado Springs Metro (4A and 5A) leagues, but much of the groundwork was laid by the wrestling committee in its meeting.

"We had a lot of input from a lot of different coaches, with Harry's guidance and his recommendations," said committee chair Ernie Dererra, the athletic director at Thompson Valley. "We thought it was a good idea to move forward with it, because we felt it was what's best for the sport.

"Most of the schools in the state have basketball, and that's where most of our classification numbers come from," Dererra continued. "Not all of the schools in the state have wrestling, and that's where that disparity in classification, particularly for 3A and 4A, came from. ... It just didn't seem fair to the 4A kid that they're facing twice the competition for the same number of opportunities to quality for the state tournament."

The change will also help solve issues like one that popped up in 2A this year, where one regional only had two wrestlers show up at a specific weight class. That caused CHSAA to pull fifth-place finishers from other regionals to fill a state bracket.

The proposal needed two-thirds of the vote to pass. It got 82 percent. So wrestling will now use the following numbers for cutoffs during the 2014-16 cycle:

Wrestling enrollment numbers
Class Cutoff Schools
2A 1-275 61
3A 276-780 53
4A 781-1410 53
5A 1411-up 62