How Matches Are Scored

What to look for in a high school wrestling match

At a tournament, wrestlers check-in at the scoring table and verify their name and school. They receive an ankle band indicating whether they will be identified as red or green on the score cards or electronic timers/scorers. Wrestlers meet in the center of the mat, shake hands with their opponent, and begin their six-minute match, which consists of three, two-minute periods.

Each competitor attempts to pin his opponent by utilizing a variety of moves.A “fall” or “pin”, holding an opponent’s shoulders to the mat for two seconds, is similar to a knockout in boxing. When one occurs, the match is over no matter regardless of the score. Any wrestler able to accumulate a 15-point lead over their opponent receives a “technical” fall, and the match ends.

If no pin or technical fall ends the match early, wrestlers compete for the entire six minutes. A coin is tossed after the first two-minute round to determine positions for the second period. The winner of the coin toss can elect to be in either the “down” or “up” position, or he can elect to defer his decision to the final round. At the end of three regulation periods, the wrestler with the most points is declared the winner.

If the scores are tied, a one-minute sudden victory overtime period will take place. Overtime begins with both wrestlers in the neutral position. The wrestler who scores the first point will be declared the winner. If there is no winner at the end of overtime, a 30-second sudden victory tiebreaker will be wrestled. The choice of position in the tiebreaker will be granted to the wrestler who scored the first point of the match. If the offensive (top) wrestler controls the defensive (bottom) wrestler for the duration of the tiebreaker, he is the winner. If the defensive wrestler scores an escape or a reversal during the tiebreaker, he is the winner.

At the completion of the match, the referee raises the hand of the winner, and the two wrestlers shake hands with each other and the opposing coach in a sign of respect to their opponent and their coach.

Scoring moves

Points awarded to the wrestler

Near Fall: 2–3 points
The wrestler in the control or top position puts his opponent on his back and almost pins him. Two points are scored when the wrestler holds the opponent on their back for 2–4 seconds. The referee counts out loud, moves his arm in cadence with his voice, and signals two points. If the opponent is held for at least 5 seconds, three points are awarded.
Takedown: 2 points
When a wrestler takes his opponent from a standing position to the mat and gains control by getting behind and on top of him.
Reversal: 2 points
When a wrestler, who is in the defensive position, goes from the bottom to the top and assumes a controlling position.
Escape: 1 point
When a wrestler in the defensive (bottom) position breaks free from their opponent’s control.

Points awarded to the opponent

Stalling: 0–2 points
Avoiding wrestling by not attempting to score. The first offense results in a warning. Second and third offenses give one point to the stalling wrestler’s opponent. A fourth offense is worth two additional points to the opponent. A fifth offense results in disqualification of the wrestler.
Illegal Holds
Illegal holds will receive a warning, and the wrestler’s opponent will receive a point. A common example is where the top wrestler locks their hands around the bottom wrestler when both of his or her hands are on the mat. Dangerous holds will be penalized with no warnings, and they will be stopped immediately by the official.