Collegiate wrestling is the more traditional form of wrestling practised mostly by men at the high school and college level in the United States. This traditional style, with a few slight changes, is still practised at high school and junior high levels, and among younger participants, often known as scholastic wrestling, where the emphasis is on skill over strength. The sport can be broadly described as an individual bout in which the competitors attempt to pin each other to the ground.
The term collegiate wrestling comes from the fact that, for the first few years, the United States was not a unified nation but was instead split between six separate universities. As the University systems became more competitive, the universities started putting together teams that included men from all the different departments and disciplines, including wrestling. Thus, the origin of collegiate wrestling techniques was at least partially facilitated by the fact that wrestling was practiced on a fairly regular basis at this point. Thus, the fundamental wrestling techniques that are used today were already part of the curriculum at this time.
Since the early 20th century, the United States has been relatively successful at producing high quality wrestlers, although there have always been issues with over-competition and poor coaching. There have been many changes to the rules and regulations governing college wrestling, especially in the area of weight classes. These changes were implemented in order to make the sport more competitive, and allow smaller athletes the opportunity to participate. Since the adoption of these rules, high school wrestling has become increasingly popular and is now one of the most popular sports in the United States.
In recent years, there has been a trend towards amateur competition as colleges and universities have started offering professional wrestling scholarships to talented young men. Amateur wrestling styles would become popularized when the first “pros” started to enter the professional ranks. Many of the early “big” names in college wrestling were students who signed professional contracts after they graduated from college. These include such well known people as Lou Theodor Merritt, Bob Sapp, Scott Askham, and Mark Langan.
The beginnings of what would become modern-day collegiate wrestling began when there were no professional or amateur wrestling teams.
As time went on, some colleges began to offer football programs and began forming national soccer teams. At this time, wrestling was a coach’s main sport and many coaches were well known in the country for their skills in this discipline. A new style of fighting had also developed out of the amateur wrestling circuit, which was dubbed by some as “mixed martial arts”.
Many colleges and universities adopted the collegiate wrestling code as their own and began to develop their own national and international rankings system. When this began to happen, it also opened the door for wrestling to be introduced into the higher levels of high school athletics. Many schools across the United States have been involved in the sport of wrestling for over 100 years now. Every year there is a new crop of talented young men and women entering their freshman years and beginning to build a career at a university.
Some of the most notable universities that have a long standing history in collegiate wrestling are: University of Alabama, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Ohio, and Cornell University. Many other colleges throughout the United States have also developed a program with the hopes of developing wrestlers into future professional athletes. Often these universities have a tradition of producing outstanding champions in the sports of wrestling and gymnastics. Some of the other traditions that have come from this sport are college football, baseball, basketball, softball, tennis, track and field, and even hockey. In addition, some universities have created mixed martial arts programs that have put together some of the best collegiate wrestlers into one athletic department.
The NCAA has been an excellent resource for all of these universities to develop a program. Many coaches in the various Division I and II programs have created what have become known as the “Hoosiers” as college wrestling matches. Many of the more successful wrestlers to ever compete in this sport have come from the schools that have put forth a great program and compete against the biggest and the best in the country. Many colleges that are looking to develop the next generation of athletic talent are willing to invest in resources to find and develop the very best that they can. It is truly a competitive sport and has become so through hard work and collaboration between the various levels of college wrestling.
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