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How to watch a match

  • Each team consists of 25 or fewer wrestlers with team names derived from the high schools where they practice.

  • A match is composed of three one-minute periods. There are no ties in wrestling.  Overtime periods continue until there is a winner.

  • Before their match, the two opposing wrestlers check in at the score table where they are assigned either a red or a green anklet. Then they meet in the center of the mat where they shake hands.

  • The referee wears a green band on one wrist and a red one on the other, holding up the appropriate hand to signal to the score table when points are awarded.  Points are awarded for a take down, reverse, escape, or near pin (see the chart below) to determine the winner of each match if there is no pin.  A pin is a win no matter what the score is up to that point and the match is over.

  • The sound of the referee’s whistle starts the match and stops it at the end of each period, if the wrestlers move out of bounds, or if there is a dangerous or illegal move.

  • The first period always starts with both wrestlers on their feet.  This is called the neutral position.

  • For the second and third periods, each wrestler gets a chance to pick whether to start in the neutral position or on top or bottom on the mat in what is called the referee’s position.

  • Each wrestler attempts to pin his or her opponent by holding both shoulder blades on the mat for two seconds.

  • When the match is over, the wrestlers again meet at the center to shake hands. The referee raises the arm of the winner.

  • Points are awarded to each team based on the outcome of the individual matches.

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