On President’s weekend Yeshiva University hosted the 20th annual Henry Wittenberg Wrestling Invitational Tournament. Yeshiva high school wrestlers from across the United States joined together for the event. Wrestling matches took place on Friday and Sunday, with the winners proceeding to the final rounds on Championship Monday, at the YU Max Stern Athletic Center.
Fifteen schools from across the country participated, many from the tri-state area, as well as some from California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Ohio.
Wrestling is a unique sport because it not only involves body strength and conditioning, but also requires speed, agility, stamina, and fast-thinking strategy (and requires no bats, balls, gloves, etc.) During matches, points are assigned for multiple actions, including take-downs, reversals and, of course, pins (bringing the opponents shoulder blades to the mat). The wrestling and scoring differs somewhat from Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, the international versions used in the Olympic games, and it is certainly very unrelated to pro-wrestling (i.e., WWE).
High school and college level wrestling competitions differ from most sports because the wrestlers compete as individuals while also earning points together as one team. The matches are divided into 14 weight classes from 106 lbs. through 285 lbs. Competitors are seeded in brackets, based on their own previous performances.
Throughout the competition, points are assigned to winners in each weight category based on the manner in which a round was won (by points, by pin, etc.). These points are cumulative for the whole team. So, in addition to having 14 individual champions, the one school team with the highest overall score is deemed the winner as well.
The tournament is named for Olympic medalist Henry Wittenberg, who founded and coached YU’s wrestling team beginning in 1955. Wittenberg passed away in 2010 at the age of 91.
Jeremy Berger is an SAR High School Junior, the 2014 Wittenberg Champion (113lbs.), and a captain of the SAR Sting Wrestling Team.
By Jeremy Berger