Call rankles S. Carroll's Olson

Coach believes decision cost one of his wrestlers a possible state title

March 06, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

In 21 years of coaching, South Carroll's Pete Olson never had a penalty point assessed against him - until Saturday at the Class 4A-3A state championships.

He's still steaming about an official's call that may have cost one of his wrestlers a state title, and at that point, could have cost his team the state title. The Cavaliers finished second to Paint Branch, 98.5 to 82.

The call in question occurred midway through the second period of a 125-pound semifinal bout.

South Carroll's Kellen Weber had Chesapeake-AA's unbeaten Matt Eveleth, the defending and eventual champion, on his back, and with a three count, nearly pinned.

That's when Eveleth grabbed Weber's groin.

And that's when the referee, in Olson's opinion, made not one, but two, mistakes.

"He should have called it a flagrant foul and disqualified the kid," Olson said. "Instead, he calls it unsportsmanlike conduct and penalizes him a point. There is no room in wrestling for grabbing testicles. It's totally unacceptable. And the referee allowed it."

Then the referee compounded his mistake, said Olson, by stopping the match to make the call, taking Weber out of the pinning situation, thus rewarding Eveleth and penalizing Weber.

Olson asked the referee to explain the call. He was told that grabbing the testicles is like grabbing a wrist, and that the referee was not able to discern the wrestler's intent.

Eveleth disagreed that it was a pinning situation.

"I was getting off my back when he called me. I think I had a point taken away for something I didn't deserve. I was in a half-nelson and I had to keep his hips away from my head," Eveleth said.

If the wrestler's intent was to escape the pin by grabbing the testicles, then the rules call for disqualification, Olson said.

"How can you equate grabbing testicles with grabbing a wrist?" Olson said. "The ref clearly saw what happened or he wouldn't have called anything. What other intent could there have been when the kid's on his back nearly pinned?"

When Olson told the referee, "If there's no intent, then there's no penalty," then the ref hit Olson with a one-point team penalty.

"His [referee's] pride was hurt, so he had to do something to me," Olson said. "I didn't mind that point. The integrity of the sport was at stake. My wrestler was wronged, and I had to go to bat for him."

Olson called the referee's decision to stop the match to penalize Eveleth a "no-no."

Olson cites Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2 of the rule book concerning penalties. It states that the referee should stop the match when indicating an infraction with three exceptions. One of those exceptions is in a pinning situation to penalize the defensive wrestler.

"He shouldn't have stopped the match. He took Kellen out of a pinning situation, and my kid lost his chance for a state title," Olson said. "I really feel badly for Kellen."

Olson said at least 15 coaches came up to him to ask him how he was able to contain himself.

"If I had said one more word, then I would have been ejected," Olson said. "The ref is there to protect the kids from injury and to provide an environment in which the match will be wrestled according to the rules. The ref decided not to protect Kellen. He slapped the other kid on the wrist. The kid deserved to be disqualified."

Weber might have claimed he was unable to continue wrestling and won by default, but he didn't.

"I didn't mind him not shaking hands with the kid afterward," Olson said. "And I wouldn't shake the kid's hand, either."

All-Star wrestling

Private School state champions Luke Palumbo (125) of Annapolis Area Christian School, Ryan Herwig (140) of Mount St. Joseph and Colin Doyle (heavyweight) of Loyola will lead their team against contingents from the public schools in tonight's Senior All-Star Classic at River Hill, beginning at 6:30. The classic annually pits the highest-placing seniors from the 4A-3A, 2A-1A, and private and parochial schools against each other and has been dominated by the public schools.

Girls basketball

Joe Russo has stepped down for the second time as girls basketball coach at Hammond.

Russo coached the Golden Bears for 12 years, including three state titles, before resigning after the 1998-99 season. He agreed to coach the team this season when Mike Mongelli stepped down for personal reasons.

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