Central Valley wrestler Shane Yackel’s season is a testimony to his decision to forgo cutting weight.
In wrestling parlance, cutting is dieting in order to reach a desired weight classification.
Sometimes it is a matter of reducing unnecessary body fat through exercise and proper eating.
But there are instances where wrestlers lose too much weight thinking they will have an advantage and they pay for it later with decreased endurance and strength.
Yackel last year wrestled in the 148-pound classification. Although finishing second in district to qualify for regionals as a junior, this year he is at a more natural 168 pounds.
“Last year I had to lose weight to make varsity and it took way too much out of me,” said Yackel. “One of my goals this year was not to lose weight and I feel like my stamina and strength are working for me.”
So far the record bears him out. Yackel won his first five matches by pin. Last Thursday he survived what he called The Spokesman-Review athlete of the week jinx to rally past Mead’s Isaac Franklin in the last 10 seconds for a 10-6 victory.
Five days earlier he had pinned Franklin in a little over a minute while winning the Inland Empire Classic tournament and being named tourney most outstanding wrestler. For that he was the S-R’s prep athlete of the week.
Part of the reason Yackel opted for a 20-pound jump in weight classes is the fact that he and teammate Rick Giampietri weigh the same.
“Both of us were 166 pounds to start the season and had to decide who would go up and who would go down,” said Yackel.
Giampietri returned to 158 pounds, where he qualified for state last year. Yackel moved up and is able to eat normally.
He began wrestling in elementary school and as a ninth-grader won the Spokaloo freshman all-city tournament at 151 pounds.
He wrestled at 158 pounds his sophomore year before dropping a weight class last season.
Following a break-even year - and two of his wins came at 158 pounds - Yackel surprised the field to reach the district finals at 148.
He was ousted in two matches at regionals, something he attributes to the fact he was working too hard to make weight.
This year he won by pin in his season opener, won four more times by pin in the I.E. tournament and scored four late points to nip Franklin in CV’s Greater Spokane League season opener.
The weight he gained last summer for football has stayed on and he’s glad it has.
“Last year I had to suck (lose weight) a lot and felt weak,” said Yackel. “This season I stuck with my decision not to lose weight and it’s worked out for the best.”
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