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The “new normal” is one of the many terms we hear repeatedly as the country begins its return to normal activities from the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping 6 feet apart from other people, wearing a mask and frequent washing of hands are three of those important warnings.

And then there is the new “no-no” that cuts at the heart of high school sports – the handshake. Shaking hands has been a part of our culture for centuries and a mainstream of high school sports forever. It is hard to imagine high school sports without handshakes.

In addition to emotional displays among team members involving handshakes, high-fives and hugs, the handshake has been a way of demonstrating good sportsmanship toward the opponent.

In wrestling, for instance, shaking hands before a match is actually a part of the rules, which, of course, will have to be relaxed for the coming season. There are handshakes at the coin toss in football and before the opening jump ball in basketball.

After a hard-fought, back-and-forth tennis match, players meet at the net to shake hands – congratulating each other for their efforts. The actions are the same after golfers battle each other for 18 holes – removing the cap and shaking hands.
These age-old practices demonstrate respect for the opponent, and in the case of post-game handshakes, graciousness in victory or defeat.

The emotions in high school sports are often off the chart, with end-of-game celebrations by players, coaches and fans involving handshakes, high-fives and hugs. So, as the early phases of return to sports occur this fall, how do we meet social distance guidelines and continue to exhibit emotions and emphasize sportsmanship, which typically have involved touching between individuals?

While the social-distancing and no-contact guidelines are necessary – at least for the short term – to diminish the spread of the virus, they should not dampen the enthusiasm and emotion by everyone involved with high school sports. We hope these types of restrictions will be lifted at some point down the road, but for now, this is our “new normal.”

The absence of these time-honored ways to express respect for the opponent does not diminish the importance of displaying sportsmanship in high school sports. In fact, we believe concern for fairness and displays of kindness, respect and graciousness will be more pronounced once high school sports resume; however, the methods of sharing these feelings will be different.

Although perhaps not as endearing as a handshake, high-five or hug, there are other ways to express these feelings and emotions – for the opponent as well as teammates.

Some alternatives to consider are a slight bow with the palms pressed together, an air high-five, a smile and quick wave, a double-tap of the right hand across the heart and a wink with the thumbs up. Certainly, there are other possibilities – in fact, teams could develop their own methods for demonstrating sportsmanship to their opponents and celebrating big plays or victories with teammates. Through their resilience and great spirit, we look forward to how the millions of participants in high school sports and activities will accept this challenge.

There will be many concessions necessary to resume athletic competition, and shaking hands is one that must cease – at least for now. However, let’s view this change as an opportunity to find new ways to showcase sportsmanship in high school sports.

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.

VHSL Phases for starting sports

Wrestlers, Coaches and Parents: Please consider creating a wrestling video for our contest on the VAWA YouTube Channel. Be creative and have fun. We will select a winner in the Elementary Division, Middle School Division and High School Division. Winners will receive a Free Singlet and T-Shirt.  Submit videos to: jack.harcourt@virginiawrestling.comBe sure to check out a few of our playlists by clicking here.

We Will Wrestle Again

Right now, our coaches want to coach. Our athletes want to compete. That's why we’ve teamed up with @athleteperformancesolutions to come up with a way to keep Virginia Wrestling Association thriving in these difficult times! Purchase this custom Virginia Wrestling Association t-shirt from APS and a portion of the proceeds will go back to our club so we can keep competing when the time comes! Let’s work together to get through this – head to and support our team today! 

Today's conversation focuses on the Olympic movement and features the people that produce the events and that you hear behind the microphone for the UWW. On this episode Bryan Hazard interviews Jason Bryant, Ken Berger, Tim Foley and Eric Olanowski.

Bryan Hazzards interview Virginia's College Officials Mike McCormick and JR Johnson

2019 Former Va Wrestler talk about COVID

Committed to College to Wrestle?

If you have recently committed to compete at the collegiate level, please contact Rob Prebish with the following information: Name, High School, Name of College, Projected Weight Class.

USA Wrestling makes online National Coaches Education Program courses free to members

As a benefit to all current Wrestling Leader members, USA Wrestling has made the online Copper and Bronze Certification courses available for free through Sunday, April 5, 2020.

In order to access the course, members simply need to log into their account at and add the item to their cart. All courses are delivered immediately online once the member has completed the free purchase and are accessed through your MY COURSES tab. A tutorial video on how to add the Bronze and/or Copper Certification courses to your cart can be found here.    

Wrestling Leader members of USA Wrestling who have previously completed Bronze and/or Copper Certification courses are encouraged to repeat the course(s) for enrichment.  All completions will be tracked in real time through USA Wrestling’s membership system. Course materials for Bronze and Copper Certifications were updated in March 2015 and November 2017, respectively.

As part of the National Coaches Education Program (NCEP), the Copper Certification course is designed for coaches whose athletes are 12 years of age and younger, normally costs $50, and takes approximately 4 hours to complete.  The Bronze Certification course is designed for coaches whose athletes are 13 years of age and older, regularly costs $80, and takes approximately 6 hours to complete.

In addition to the Copper and Bronze Certification courses, USA Wrestling has the HEADS Up Concussion in Youth Sports available to anyone through its membership system.  This course, which was developed by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), is aimed to keep children and teen athletes safe by helping coaches and parents recognize, respond to, and minimize the risk of concussion or other serious brain injury.

USA Wrestling suspends sanctioned events and national events through June

USA Wrestling postpones National and Regional events through July 1 BY USA WRESTLING | APRIL 20, 2020, 4:01 P.M. (ET) Due to the nature of what it would entail to host a national or regional USA Wrestling competition, with the first priority being the health and safety of all participants involved, USA Wrestling has extended the postponement of its national and regional events through July 1. In addition to the 10 national and regional events that USA Wrestling previously postponed through May 10, there are 10 additional events which have now been postponed: • Western Regional Championships, Farmington, UT, May 14-16 • Northern Plains Regional Championships, Rochester, MN, May 15-17 • Central Regional Championships, Fort Wayne, IN, May 15-17 • Southeast Regional Championships, Wilmington, NC, May 22-24 • UWW U23 & Junior World Team Trials, Geneva, OH, May 29-31 • Southern Plains Regional Championships, Dodge City, KS, June 5-7 • 16U National Duals, Loves Park, IL, June 9-13 • 14U National Duals, Franklin, IN, June 10-14 • Junior National Duals, Tulsa, OK, June 16-20 • USA Wrestling Kids Nationals, Wisconsin Dells, WI, June 25-27 Working with its COVID-19 Advisory Committee and relying on current advice from health and government agencies, USA Wrestling is currently formulating the specific safety measures that must be put in place in order for the resumption of club practice and local or state competitions. Any such activity will only be possible when held under the guidelines set by local and state health authorities and in compliance with the safety measures being developed for the sport. As this situation regarding this pandemic remains fluid and ever-evolving, USA Wrestling will continue to monitor its policies regarding National and Regional events, sanctioned events and club practices, and additional changes to these policies are possible.

Folkstyle State Club Results

1 Scanlan Wrestling Academy 484  
2 Smith Mountain Lake Wrestling 459
3 Smithfield Wrestling 383.5
4 VATP 367.5
5 Virginia patriots 337
6 Virginia Elite 320.5
7 Powerhouse Wrestling Academy 320
8 NOVA Wrestling Club 312.5
9 Poquoson Athletic Association 306
10 Powhatan Youth Wrestling Club 279.5
1 Poquoson Athletic Association 50  
2 Powhatan Youth Wrestling Club 31
3 Front Royal Raptors 30
4 Smithfield Wrestling 26
5 Smith Mountain Lake Wrestling 25
1 Poquoson Athletic Association 84.5  
2 Smith Mountain Lake Wrestling 82.5
3 Guerrilla Wrestling 65.5
4 Virginia Elite 63
5 Hanover Hawkeye Wrestling 40
1 Scanlan Wrestling Academy 100  
2 Poquoson Athletic Association 89
3 Bandits 87.5
4 OutKast Wrestling Inc 69
5 River City Wrestling 69
1 Scanlan Wrestling Academy 121  
2 Mat Sharks 92.5
3 Team Cobra Wrestling 84.5
4 Virginia Elite 81
5 Eastern Loudoun 78
1 Virginia patriots 198.5  
2 VATP 147.5
3 Smith Mountain Lake Wrestling 130.5
4 Smithfield Wrestling 113.5
5 Powerhouse Wrestling Academy 111
1 VATP 139  
2 Powerhouse Wrestling Academy 109
3 Virginia Wrestling Academy 105.5
4 Smith Mountain Lake Wrestling 103.5
5 Scanlan Wrestling Academy


1 Scanlan Wrestling Academy 96
2 NOVA WC 86
3 Hanover Wrestling Club 70
4 Hornet Wrestling Club



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Wrestlers Who Won 100+ Matches in their High School Career: Check Our List!

All former Virginia high school wrestlers should check out our list of athletes who won 100 or more matches in their career to make sure their name, school, graduation year and number of career wins is listed. You can check the list by clicking here. If you need to be added to the list please email Rob Prebish with your information and he will add it to the list!

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2020 Freestyle and Greco States Info Released



Check out the most up to date, complete database of all individual VHSL and VISAA State Champions!

Check out materials available for coaches and athletes

Videos and links to multiple resources for coaches, parents and athletes.

VAWA Freestyle Greco States


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