Still no clear cut answers to wrestling postseason - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

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Still no clear cut answers to wrestling postseason

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 4:34 pm

The decision from the AIA on the wrestling postponement came late Monday afternoon with no real answers.

The statement released said there will be no wrestling until Friday at the earliest, if at all. The small schools were scheduled to start the state tournament on Thursday and finish up Friday. The big schools were scheduled to start state on Friday and finish up Saturday.

But there was no clarification of whether or not there will be sectional or just the state tournament.

It would seem there is only time for a state tournament, but no real answers as to who would qualify.

Those answers are expected by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the AIA statement:

"The AIA is making every effort to have by 5 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11, adequate direction from the above referenced experts (public health officials) to make an informed decision whether to move forward with the postseason tournament as early as Friday, Feb. 14. There will be no postseason wrestling tournament events taking place on Thursday, Feb. 13."

The AIA feels it made the best possible decision at this point after working with public health officials to identify the nature of the infection(s), determine how widespread this may be, and incubation period(s).

“We hope that this will come to a timely resolution. We realize that this was an inconvenience and disappointment for many and yet, reducing the possible spread of infection had to take priority,” says Chuck Schmidt, Associate Executive Director.

The reaction by the AIA hasn't been well received by the wrestling community mainly because there is already a system in place to protect the wrestlers.

The community wants more answers to actually what the skin infection is rather than listen to rumors of herpes gladiatorum that hit the college level and Minnesota high schools in 2007 and pointing fingers at certain teams as the main culprit.

"I can believe that," Desert Vista coach David Gonzalez said. "These kids have worked hard and this knee-jerk reaction has hurt the process.

"It didn't need to get to this point. There is a a system in place to protect the kids. Either you have a doctor's not or you don't wrestle. This is really hurting kids who are ready to go."

Denis Ryan, who has one son who wrestles in college and another who wrestles for Pinnacle, said delaying the decision another 24 hours is difficult on the competitors.

"There's two types of kids competing in the state tournament - those who are happy to be there and those trying to win it," he said. "The uncertainty is the most difficult on these kids. They have to maintain their weight for another few days and the team who stays the most focused is going to win it."

Gonzalez said taking another day just to let them know if there will be a state tournament is maddening.

"There has to be a contingency plan or at least they have some idea of what they are doing to do," he said. "Give us some answers so we know how to proceed."

Chandler coach Vidal Mejia has his kids preparing as if they need to make weight on Friday.

"That's the approach we have to take right now," he said. "The (AIA's) generic statement isn't telling anybody anything."

Mejia brought up another point about the logistics of delaying information another day and what it might mean to school budgets.

"I told my AD to be prepared to add more hotel rooms if everyone qualifies and that I would need another van," he said. "Or what if we end up not wrestling and have to cancel the rooms, but we don't get refunded because we found out so late."

Mejia said the decision was an overreaction.

"We are talking about a skin issue and we have provisions in place to take care of that," he said. "If they reacted to concussions in football the way they are reacting to this they would ban football across the nation."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
  • Sports writer
  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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