Some wrestlers from four Southern Maryland schools could miss out on the postseason while others may be seeded lower after losing points earned in several tournaments in which they missed the first day because of poor weather.
The ruling by William G. Beattie, Maryland's state wrestling commissioner, would affect athletes from Chopticon, Northern, Great Mills and McDonough.
Beattie cited National Federation of High Schools rules that require wrestlers to weigh in on all days of a tournament. As a result, Beattie said, points that wrestlers earned after competing in only the second day of the tournament will not count toward seedings for the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference and Maryland 4A/3A South tournaments.
"If schools are going to conduct tournaments, they must adhere to federation rules precisely," Beattie said. "Those teams that participated in tournaments and didn't weigh in on Friday, we won't allow them to use any points from the tournament for seeding purposes."
All four teams in violation were forced to forfeit their first-day matches and compete in the consolation brackets.
Northern competed in only the second day of the Hammond Golden Bear Invitational in January and had two wrestlers (seniors Walter Hoffman and Matt Parsons) advance undefeated through the consolation bracket. McDonough competed in a Stephen Decatur Tournament in December, and Chopticon and Great Mills each competed in a South River tournament.
McDonough Coach Donnie Myers said he spoke with the appropriate officials to gain permission to compete -- including contacting the Board of Education in order to use school vans. Myers also said the Rams had participated in only the second day of tournaments in the past without punishment.
"He is punishing the kids for his own mistake," Myers said of Beattie. "Some of my kids will be fine, but I have a few who may not be able to qualify for the region."
Panther Coach Confident
Tom McCall, Patuxent's second-year coach, is confident that his young team is making strides not evident in the Panthers' 2-10 record. The Panthers have a lineup of three seniors and seven first-year wrestlers.
"There is no magic wand," said McCall, who coached at Gwynn Park and Suitland in the 1980s before returning to teaching and coaching last October. "The performance we are getting is more than we expected for the experience these kids have."
Senior 135-pounder Ian McGray has been the Panthers' bright spot, losing just two matches. McGray placed second in the SMAC and third in the region last season.
"He's tenacious," McCall said. "Once he shakes your hand, he's ready to go at it. He's in tremendous physical shape. He's there to wrestle a full six minutes."
Early Bird Gets the Pin
Early morning workouts have paid off for Thomas Stone seniors Ryan Reffitt (140) and George Taylor (152). Since the beginning of the year, Reffitt and Taylor have arrived at school at 6 a.m. three days a week to get in extra practice sessions with Coach Jason Bursick.
Reffitt, a two-time state qualifier who transferred from Westlake at the beginning of the school year, is off to a 16-2 start. Taylor is 19-3 and in search of his first state tournament appearance.
"It's been working out real well for them, and I can see them getting confident," Bursick said. "They are getting extra drills in each morning. The preparation and work on their technique has only helped."