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MORNING BRIEFING

High school wrestlers seem to be tap dunces

Tap-outs are on the rise in high school wrestling, meaning toughness is taking a beating.

February 13, 2009|Lisa Dillman

Fighting isn't a sanctioned high school sport, of course. And neither is boxing. So when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, wrestling is about as close as a teen can get to an MMA or UFC event.

Or maybe watching a hockey game.

Back to wrestling. The popularity of MMA and UFC means participation in high school wrestling is up, according to Southland coaches.

But it's not all positive. Tap-outs are on the rise, meaning toughness is taking a beating. In wrestling, a tap-out is a request for an injury timeout, after which the match is restarted.

In pro fighting, a competitor who has been pinned into submission and is in pain "taps out," ending the match. Confusion, apparently, is a byproduct because high school wrestlers are often trying to tap their way out of tough spots.

"You give up," Temecula Valley Coach Arnold Alpert said.

Then there's Morro Bay Coach Mike Aanerud. At a recent meet, he asked a referee to declare a forfeit after one of his wrestlers tapped out.

Guess that won't be mentioned in the high school yearbook.

Trivia time

Who has made more money in his major league career: Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez?

More A-Rod

There's just simply never enough about A-Rod, it seems.

Adweek noted the timing of a certain promotional campaign: "Alex Rodriguez is now not only the poster boy for steroids, he is also the poster boy for the World Baseball Classic -- literally."

And this contribution from reader Janice Hough: "If it turns out A-Rod was indeed taking steroids after 2003, we will learn something useful about the drugs: They don't work in October."

Sister act

Venus Williams posed for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue a few years ago. But it wasn't for the exposure -- if you'll excuse the wordplay -- or getting to go to some exotic location.

Why?

Because her younger sister Serena had done it.

"And I wanted to be like her. So that's why I did it," Venus said Wednesday on a conference call.

Will there be a repeat performance?

"If Serena did it, yes," she said.

Trivia answer

Not even close. A-Rod's baseball pay has been $198.4 million in his career through 2008, versus "only" $162.3 million for Ramirez, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

And finally

Golfer John Rollins, to reporters, on losing the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines: "I still made $574,000. Life isn't too bad."

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

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