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To pin an opponent, a wrestler must force both his opponent's shoulder blades on the mat for two seconds.

Credit: Nicole Fridling

On Sunday, Penn wrestling will host the Keystone Classic, Penn’s annual home wrestling tournament. This year’s team is talented, and the Quakers will compete for individual successes on the mat to secure a team win overall.

It might not be clear, however, exactly how all the points add up.

A wrestling match begins with the two opponents in neutral position. Both wrestlers are standing on their feet, and no one has control. From the neutral position, a wrestler earns two points for a takedown. Once control is established by one of the wrestlers, two points can be earned for a reversal, and one point for an escape.

In the top position, when one athlete has control of the other, he can score additional points by holding his opponent’s shoulder blades past the plane of 90 degrees. At this point, the referee will start to count off back points. Holding his opponent for two seconds, the wrestler can gain two points, and after four seconds, the hold will earn a total of four points.

Similarly, the neutral danger rule applies when no takedown has been awarded but one wrestler finds his back in the vulnerable zone past 90 degrees. After three seconds here, the referee will award a takedown to the athlete who is not in danger and will then begin to count back points.

A pin ends the match, regardless of score. To pin someone, a wrestler must force both his opponent's shoulder blades to the ground for two seconds. Whichever wrestler pins the other wins.

Finally, if a contender is winning by 15 points or more at any point during the match, it automatically ends in what is called a technical fall. 

In their dual meets this season, Penn will be hoping to accumulate as many team points as possible in individual matches. A match won by eight points or more earns four team points, while winning by less than eight earns three. A technical fall is worth five team points and a pin is worth six.

In this weekend’s tournament, however, the focus will be on each individual’s performance. Team points will be awarded differently than in a dual meet, dependent on how far a wrestler advances in a bracket.

Sunday’s first major competition of the season will put the Quakers’ training to the test.