COVID-19’s Impact on Wrestling


Molly Bomar, Journalist

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have enacted health regulations to keep players and coaches safe. However these district benchmarks and the inconvenience of the epidemic has diminished numbers in seasons, especially in the winter wrestling program.  


According to Mr. Whitten, Mountain Ridge’s wrestling coach, the 2021 season has already been affected immensely.  


“Our numbers are extremely low,” Whitten said. “When we have duals there are a lot of forfeits because we do not have the bodies for the weight classes.” 


The safety protocols call for players to wear their masks during matches. Breathing is extremely difficult and restricts the players abilities. 


“Meets are different, besides all the forfeits, the wrestlers have to wrestle their matches in masks,” Whitten explained. “The wrestlers are tough and must have managed this and not made it an issue.” 


Unfortunately, some players have not been able to manage. Many have left the team due to the inconvenience.


“We have some really good kids quit over the mask issue and all the uncertainty,” Whitten said. “But the ones who have remained and stuck it out are proving that they are the toughest kids in the school.”


With the extreme drop in wrestlers, Coach Whitten is unsure of the future of the sport. 


Whitten noted that the lack of participants is bound to hurt the program in the future. “We have five or six [players who] should be or have been varsity wrestlers who either did not come out or quit. We also do not have the lower level wrestlers who are learning and preparing for the time when they are ready to be on the varsity squad,” he said.


Due to the decrease in numbers and the coronavirus regulations, player morale has been all over the map this season. 


“Getting postponed multiple times and getting cancelled then uncancelled,” said Whitten. “It’s been a long season already.” 


Whitten says it might take awhile to get the regular numbers back up. 


“I feel this is going to be about a four year cycle to get things back to normal,” Whitten said. 


However, Whitten has hope for the next season. He says next year’s freshman could replenish the squad’s numbers and help recover the sport.