Hammond wrestler denied injunction

January 31, 1995|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Hammond High wrestler Chris Williams lost another match in court yesterday when Judge Hilary Kaplan, of the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, denied Williams an injunction that would have allowed him to wrestle this season.

In denying the request, the third by Williams, Kaplan said "there was insufficient evidence to support an interlocutory injunction."

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, which governs high school sports, declared Williams had forfeited his eligibility for this season by competing in two all-star meets after last season, despite discovering only after those events that he would not graduate.

Maryland public school athletes are permitted four years of athletic eligibility, whether all varsity or combined with junior varsity. Williams, a fifth-year senior, did not wrestle as a junior because he was academically ineligible.

One all-star meet, said MPSSAA executive secretary Ned Sparks, was enough to make Williams ineligible for this season. But Williams has contended that the meets should be overlooked since he had intended to graduate last June.

MPSSAA president Ron Belinko, also the director of the state's wrestling committee said: "No youngster plans on not graduating, so you do things based on the assumption you will. If you're in an all-star meet, and then you're not successful at graduating, it's not the system's fault."

Sparks, Howard County athletics coordinator Don Disney and Hammond principal Marshall Peterson were present to oppose Williams. Those in attendance in support of Williams were Hammond athletic director Bob Maxey, head wrestling coach Jeff Starnes and assistant Bill Smith.

"It's possible to appeal this decision and we haven't ruled out anything," said Alan Armstrong, a parent of two former Hammond wrestlers and a backer of Williams. "But it's apparent that it will be hard for us to have Chris wrestle this year."

Williams, who along with his attorney David Grover could not be reached for comment, went a school-record 35-3 last year, winning county, regional and state titles. Twice, he had been denied by Howard County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Sweeney and Baltimore City District Court Judge Marvin Steinberg.

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