WILLMAR (AP) -- The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City wrestling team will be going to the state tournament instead of Norwood Young America, the Minnesota State High School League has ruled in a dispute over uniform rules violations.
The league on Tuesday reversed the outcome of this weekend's Section 5A championship, associate director Skip Peltier said.
Norwood Young America had initially been declared the champion Saturday in Norwood, 33-32 over ACGC, in a ruling that was appealed to the league.
ACGC trailed 15-6 when it sent Devin Blom out for his 130-pound match with NYA's Nick Ostlie. Blom was the heavy favorite and the Falcons were looking to close the gap.
But in the opening period, one of the legs of Blom's singlet rode high up on his thigh, exposing his biker shorts underneath, a violation of league rules because it was not part of the uniform.
The referee stopped the match, deducted a team point for ACGC, and ordered Blom to retreat to the locker room and remove the shorts. Blom then pinned Ostlie at 3:01 and whittled the deficit to 15-11, including the team penalty deduction.
As the two combatants were heading to the center circle so Blom could be declared the winner, Norwood Young America coach Darroel Dammann protested that Blom's shoelaces were not taped down -- another violation -- and ACGC had another team point deducted.
"Devin was given 90 seconds to remove the biker shorts so he ran as fast as he could into the locker room," ACGC coach Michael Bolton said. "He had to tear the tape off his shoes to get them off so he could take his singlet and shorts off. Because he was hurrying, he forgot to tape the laces back and I never noticed them because we were all discussing what was going to happen next."
After a lengthy discussion and more protesting from both coaches, it was decided that the match would revert back to the point before the fall, making the score 7-4 in Blom's favor. Blom eventually won by a 12-4 major decision, leaving the Falcons two points shorter than they would have been if the pin had not been nullified. Norwood Young America went on for a 33-32 victory.
Bolton notified the high school league and was first told that the decision would stand, and that NYA would advance to next week's state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The referee then called Peltier on Saturday night to make sure his decision was the correct.
Byron Olson, the rules interpretation official for the league, then checked with the national wrestling federation on the ruling and was informed that ACGC should be declared the winner 34-33 because the pin should have counted, and that the match should not been wrestled over.
"We couldn't be happier," Bolton said. "This was the correct call. We didn't get to celebrate out on the mat, but we're celebrating now."
Dammann did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
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