If you’re a fan, high school wrestling is exciting in itself but when a match goes into overtime the level of excitement gets insane, especially if the two wrestler are pretty evenly matched. However tiebreakers can be pretty confusing for the newer fans and the rules do change every once-in-awhile (leaving even veterans, that aren’t up-to-date with the rules, scratching their heads). That is why I have written this guide. Hopefully it will increase your knowledge of the sport and make it all the more enjoyable to watch.
When two wrestlers end up with a tied score at the end of three regular periods, they go directly into an overtime period called Sudden Victory Overtime. I say that they “go directly into” it because there is no rest period allowed between the end of the last regular period and the beginning of the overtime period. In Sudden Victory, the wrestlers have 1 minute to score on each other. The starting position is neutral (both competitors standing). First person the get a point wins the match. If a takedown or reversal occurs that goes straight into a near-fall situation, the match continues until the situation is over.
Tiebreaker 1 and Tiebreaker 2
If after the Sudden Victory Overtime the match is still tied, the bout will move into the tiebreaker part of the overtime periods. This consists of two 30 second periods. Unlike in Sudden Victory, who scores first does not matter, the wrestler tries to accumulate more points than their opponent (if unable to win the match by pin) throughout the two periods. Choice of how to start Tiebreaker 1 is given to the wrestler who wins the disc flip; they can choose from top, bottom or defer (neither person is allowed to choose neutral position).
At the beginning of Tiebreaker 2, the wrestler that did not choose the starting position (or deferred) during Tiebreaker 1 gets to choose between top or bottom.
If there is still no winner after Tiebreaker 2, the wrestlers go into the final period of overtime: The Ultimate Tiebreaker. Some things you need to know about this special situation:
- This period lasts 30 seconds.
- The wrestler that scored the first point(s) during regular time chooses how to start the period. They can choose top, bottom or defer (neither person is allowed to choose neutral position). If a wrestler has received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at any time during the match (that includes the earlier overtime periods) their opponent will get the choice, regardless of who scored first. If there were no points scored during regulation time, a flip of the disk will decide who chooses (points from stalling and simultaneous penalties do not count as points for deciding who gets the choice).
- The period ends immediately if a pin occurs, or points are scored by either wrestler. An exception to this is the same as in Sudden Victory; if a takedown or reversal occurs that goes straight into a near-fall situation, the match continues until that situation is over.
- If the 30-second time limit is reached and the bout is still tied, the wrestler who started this period from the top position is declared the winner and given 1 match point.