After a strong set of performances at the McMaster Invitational, the Mac wrestling team has established themselves as a top contender among University Sports competition. Currently ranked second in the national rankings, the men’s team finished second in their home-opener, boasting one gold medal from Joban Phulka, three silver medals from Ameen Aghamirian, Scott MacLellan and Ben Zahra, and two bronze medals from Ahmed Shamiya and Erik Joy.
On the women’s side Jenna Leslie took home silver to carry the women’s team to a solid seventh place finish and setting up an eighth-place ranking in the U Sports Top Ten.
“[We] wrestled okay,” said head coach Nick Cipriano. “It was a week earlier than normal so I thought we had some decent performances but not great performances… did we win some games that we did not expect? The answer is yes, but we also lost some we were expecting to win. It is still early in the season.”
Perhaps a testament to the team’s lofty expectations, it is safe to say fans can expect big things from the Mac wrestling program as the season progresses.
What you need to know
In preparation for the upcoming season, there are a handful of key rules fans can be familiar with to get the most out of this exciting spectator sport.
Wrestlers compete for two three-minute periods with a 30 second rest period in between rounds for coaching advice. Opponents start in their respective corners and wait for the referee signal, then the match begins. There are no time-outs once the match starts, the only factors that can stop the match are the referee, the clock or injury.
The goal of the match is to “pin” your opponent. A pin, also called a “fall”, occurs when both shoulder blades of the defensive wrestler are held in contact with the mat for long enough that the referee observes total control.
Wrestlers begin the match on their feet in a standing position, and their first objective is try and take the opponent down to the mat. If they are taken down to their stomach the offensive wrestler is awarded two points, and they are taken to their back the offensive wrestler is awarded 4 points. Those are called “takedowns”. Points can also be awarded if their opponent steps out of bounds (1) or if they finish finish a move out of bounds (2 or 4). If any wrestler can accumulate a 10-point differential with takedowns, they win the match. But according to Cipriano, that does not happen all too often.
What is more common is something called “par terre” wrestling. After a takedown or 2-4 points athletes are given about 20-30 seconds to try and expose the person’s shoulders to the mat (stomach to back). Alternatively, if the referee determines one wrestler is being too passive, they are placed in a par terre position with their knees and hands on the mat to give their opponent a chance to score.
There are four primary ways to win a wrestling match
1. If one athlete pins their opponent to the mat they are the winner, regardless of the score.
2. If one athlete attains a 10 point advantage over their opponent they win by “technical superiority.”
3. If the match lasts the entire two periods, the athlete with the most technical points in the end is the winner.
4. If the match is tied at the end of two periods, the athlete with the most “high-value” points is the winner.