No sweat: Ponderosa wins league title
Chaparral forfeits 13 matches after scheduling issues
Ponderosa won its 20 consecutive Continental League wrestling championship and the Mustangs collected their 167 straight league dual-match victory without working up much of a sweat.
Ponderosa defeated Chaparral, 78-6 in the controversial matchup for the league title between the Continental League's National and American division winners.
Because of a conflict caused by a rescheduled basketball game and possible communication confusion, Chaparral didn't have any varsity wrestlers compete at Ponderosa and forfeited 13 matches. The lone Wolverines points came when the Mustangs didn't have a heavyweight wrestler and earned six points for the forfeit.
The match was originally scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6 at Chaparral but was supposedly moved to Wednesday, Feb. 5 because of a junior varsity basketball tournament played Feb. 7 and 8 at Chaparral. So the boys varsity basketball game against Douglas County was played Feb. 6, which bumped the wrestling match to Feb. 5.
ThunderRidge athletic director Bob Nelson, the Continental League's wrestling czar, had to step in to resolve the resulting mix-up of when and where the match would be held.
There are two sides to every story.
“I talked with Tim Ottmann (Ponderosa Athletic Director) and Corey McNeills (Mustangs wrestling coach) early in the season,” said Chaparral Athletic Director Don Nelson who is the brother of Bob Nelson. “We had the match on Wednesday and Tim calls me about 10 o'clock in the morning Wednesday and said they had it on Thursday. I said, `Tim you and I talked about this' and he goes `I never communicated it to Corey.'
“It put us in a bad situation for our kids already shut down to get down to weight and ready to wrestle. Cutting weight isn't the easiest thing for these kids to do. We even talked to CHSAA and even though we didn't wrestle the night before we asked if they would concede to giving us additional weight. They said they couldn't do that. It was against national federation rules. They (Pondo) refused to come over here on Wednesday because they said they were not on weight. Our kids weren't going to make weight on Thursday. We felt it was communicated and Tim he says he remembers the conversation but did not communicate to Corey so their kids weren't ready.”
Ottmann was ready to explain the Mustangs' side of the disagreement.
“Don did mention the fact that he wanted to change the date of the dual to me at our athletic director's meeting in December,” recalled Ottmann. “I didn't think much of it at the time and truly thought he would follow up with me by email. Time went by and neither Corey nor myself ever got written confirmation of the date change.
“Typically either the opposing coaches or the athletic secretaries would confirm any kind of change but that didn't happen either. So long story short, we found out we had a date conflict at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 5.”
Ottmann expounded more.
“I immediately called Don and explained the situation to him and told him we would prefer to not wrestle that night because many of our kids would not be on weight,” said Ottmann. “I offered several options to him including Thursday afternoon, Saturday night and Monday night, all at Chap, but he did not want to change the date and insisted that we come that night.
“Since we could not come to an agreement, I called Bob Nelson and asked him to come up with a solution. After talking to me and Don at length, he made the decision to have the dual on Thursday at Ponderosa. Had he made the decision to wrestle Wednesday, we would have been there with a full team and bumped a few wrestlers up a weight class.
“When I got to weigh-ins Thursday, I found that Chaparral only brought four kids, two JV wrestlers and two varsity wrestlers. They wrested the two JV kids but decided not to wrestle the varsity kids, one of which we were going to forfeit to anyway (the heavyweight).”
In the end, it was parents from both schools who were left grappling with their feelings.
“It was not comfortable no matter whether you are on Ponderosa's side or if you are on Chaparral's side,” said Don Nelson. “Trust me, we had mad parents and I know at Ponderosa there were some because we didn't have everybody there. I had a lot of mad parents because Ponderosa did not show up here on Wednesday.”