The 2016-17 wrestling season came to a close in Houston with all the expected fanfare. 28 boys champions, and 20 girls champions walked away with the gold, proving the hard work they have put in paid off during the finals.
As with the wrestlers, 30 of the top officials in the State of Texas also completed their UIL season by calling the State Tournament. This season was spent giving emphasis to potentially dangerous situations, striving for consistency on stalling, with really no significant rules changes as in past years. At the State Tournament there is a benefit to the UIL allowing us to use 2 officials on every match, which increases the coverage. We had typical conversations with coaches about control situations, with regard to out-of-bounds location, in addition to comments on stalling.
A note on how State Tournament officials are selected – as a State, the Texas Wrestling Officials Association is separated into seven chapters. Each of these chapters put forth a list of officials from their chapters to be voted on by an Executive Board of seven representatives (one from each chapter) who report to our State President. From these individual chapters, a list of qualified, endorsed officials are sent to this Executive Board for them to select their top 30 officials from the combined list from across the State. Once the State President receives all votes, the top 30 officials are selected and invited to officiate at State. Consistency among all officials at State is a top priority, and we do our best to rotate officials around to other areas of wrestling throughout the year to ensure a comfort level is achieved by coaches and wrestlers – in addition to the officials themselves.
It is extremely normal and accepted that due to the passion, perseverance, commitment and dedication of all competitors and coaches at the State Tournament, there will be disagreements on some calls. This same dedication among all officials guarantees fairness and impartiality in everything that we do. We are to remain professional when discussing any disagreements, but also have to rule and penalize according to NFHS guidelines. Best of all, we leave everything on the mat and take no issues personally.
Congratulations to all competitors and coaches for an excellent season. We are honored to be able to share the mat with you, and assist in your goal of becoming the best you can be. Please remember – wrestling, for us, is a passion we’ve carried from our youth as well. Many of us officiated through high school, and most through college. We NEED experience and youth to constantly improve our ranks, and you are the best candidates we can have, once your career has concluded. Whatever chapter is next in your life, please consider joining our association, and giving back to the sport (plus, making some extra $$$) anywhere you go across the Nation, we can hook you up with officiating contacts for that area.