I am writing in hopes of increasing your wrestling knowledge, so that you no longer have an excuse not to go watch our nationally ranked team wrestle. I will do my best to explain as many of the rules and as much of the scoring as possible. Like any other sport wrestling is very complex and just watching the sport is the best way to pick up on all of this. My goal is to give you a base of which to go off of so that when you do watch the team, you have some sense as to what is going on.
NCAA Match Format
1st Period: 3 minutes
2nd Period: 2 minutes
3rd Period: 2 minutes
Every wrestling match begins in the 'neutral' position. This means both competitiors are standing, one on the green strip in the middle of the mat (usually the home team in a dual meet) and the other on the red strip in the middle of the mat (usually the away team in a dual meet). From neutral, both wrestlers will work to score a takedown. A takedown means that one wrestler gets the other wrestler on the mat and secures control of him. Control is established when one wrestler is behind the other wrestler on the mat, or one wrestler has the other wrestler on his back. Two points are scored for a takedown and this is the only way to score from neutral.
Referee's Position (Bottom)
At the end of the first period, one wrestler will have his choice of 'top', 'bottom', 'neutral', or to defer his choice to the beginning of the 3rd period. Usually, one wrestler will be on 'bottom' and one wrestler will be on 'top' at the beginning of the second period, but a choice of neutral does happen. The job of the bottom wrestler is to cause the man on top to lose control of him; this can be done in two different ways. The first way to score from the bottom position is by an escape. An escape means that the bottom man stands up and completely breaks away from the top man, facing him and re-establishing himself in the neutral position. A wrestler gets one point for an escape. The other way to score on bottom is by completing a reversal. To complete a reversal the bottom wrestler must "reverse" his position. This happens when the bottom man establishes control, causing him to be on top and the top man to be on bottom. In essence, they "reverse positions." A wrestler scores two points for a reversal.
Referee's Position (Top)
The goal of the wrestler in the top position is to maintain control over his opponent (also called riding) and to "turn him," so that he can accumulate nearfall points or even pin his opponent. Nearfall points come when the top wrestler turns the bottom wrestler to his back and holds him there for either a 2-count or a 5-count by the referee. If the referee gets a 2-4 second count, the wrestler on top scores two points for nearfall, but if the referee gets to a 5-count the wrestler on top scores three points for the nearfall. If the wrestler on top gets the bottom wrestler flat on his back, where both shoulder blades are touching the mat, the referee will call a pin and the match is over. The other way to accumulate points off of the top position is by accumulating 'riding time.' This happens when the top wrestler maintains his position on top. If one wrestler maintains control for more than one minute, he receives one point at the end of the match.
NOTE: If one wrestler has 1:03 of riding time at the beginning of the second period, and chooses the bottom position, his riding time immediately starts going backwards until he gets an escape or reversal. So if the wrestler with 1:03 is ridden for 4 seconds, he now has :59 of riding time and will not receive a point at the end of the match.
3 pts = Decision - A win by a wrestler between 1 and 8 points.
4 pts = Major Decision - A win by a wrestler between 9 and 14 points.
5 pts = Technical Fall - A win by a wrestler by 15 or more points. (The match is stopped when a 15 point differential is reached)
6 pts = Fall - A win by a wrestler by way of pin.