Will Wrestling be the Same?


MALAKAI HOLLAND, Athletics Editor

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, all sports were canceled during 2020. Wrestling was one of the sports affected by the Pandemic, and still is to this day. 

The sport of wrestling is not for the weak of heart. It’s a hard, very physical, and a high-intensity sport. With that in mind, it’s hard to compete with or without masks. This year, to comply with the State of Hawaii Department of Health regulations, wrestlers are required to wear masks. However, the BIG QUESTION is: Will this significantly impact how the wrestlers perform? 

As a wrestler, it’s difficult to grapple in a six-minute match without a mask. With muscles flexed or used, oxygen remains  a critical ingredient to providing the necessary “fuel”  to wrestle. 

“It feels different, I mean, once you’re wrestling in a match you can’t really feel it. [There’s] just that one part of you that remembers it’s on because it gets hard to breathe.” says Kamuela Holland. Kamu has been wrestling for four years and  now enters his first tournament in two years. 

The Saint Louis Crusaders had a duel meet (A 1v1 between schools) with matches against Iolani and Mid-ac on Saturday, November 20th. Every wrestler is required to wear a cloth mask under their headgear.  When asked about how wearing a mask impacts his performance, Holland noted, “I think I would’ve done differently in the match. I could’ve done better without a mask because I wouldn’t have been as tired.” 

Coach Trenton Teruya says “Hopefully masks will no longer be required as the state mandates have been lifted. With the wrestlers being tested, hopefully, the need for masks will no longer exist.” 

As the sport of wrestling returns, many of the 2019 competitors have not returned.  This may be the result of some of the changes the sport has added to competitions.  However, as previously stated, they are a requirement that must be complied with to participate. 

Perhaps the bigger question is: Will wrestlers be more affected by masks if they haven’t conditioned enough? Coach Teruya explains “I think it’ll affect all wrestlers regardless of their conditioning. Anytime you have something covering your nose and mouth it’s bound to cause physical, if not psychological [effects], no matter how seasoned or conditioned you are.” 

Wrestling may be back to competition, but it’s different. Could this be the “new normal” for wrestling? Only time will tell.