Last year, District 6 wrestling was left with a black eye after Westmont Hilltop left the Team Duals early after a controversial loss to Mount Union in the semifinals.
The District 6 Duals quarterfinals begin tonight amid more controversy.
Second-seeded Mount Union was supposed to host seventh-seeded Glendale tomorrow night, but the Vikings have pulled out of the Duals because of an altercation between a Mount Union fan and one of the Viking wrestlers. Penn Cambria will instead wrestle at Mount Union.
An MU student hit one of the Glendale wrestlers as the teams were shaking hands after the Trojans' 49-27 win Thursday at Mount Union. It left the wrestler, whom Damiano didn't want to identify, with a bloody lip.
"It was a lack of security," Damiano said. "The crowd is on the mat after most matches. When the match is over and the teams are shaking hands, that's when you're at you're most vulnerable point."
Mount Union principal Curt Whitesel says the female student hit the wrestler because he made a comment to her and spat on her. Whitesel, who was dealing with the incident all day Friday, says other witnesses have backed up the student's story.
"I'm not condoning what she did," said Whitesel, who also serves on the District 6 athletic committee. "She was disciplined. She shouldn't have reacted the way she did, but kids react when they're spit upon. I'm sure they're going to say he didn't spit."
Emotions were already high after MU's Malakia Jackson pinned Craig Bickford at 189 and Jamel Fortson pinned Bobby Shepler at 215.
Damiano says his wrestlers thought they had baby oil on their bodies that came from the Mount Union wrestlers. Baby oil would make the wrestler using it slippery.
He brought that to the attention of referee Mark Aurand to no avail. When Damiano smelled the arms of those wrestlers to see if it was baby oil, a Mount Union fan took offense and charged out of the stands and, Damiano says, began yelling at the Glendale bench.
"Two of my bigger kids complained about having baby oil on their arms," Damiano said. "I didn't push it. I said, 'You lost, take a seat.' A lady charged out of the stands and verbally abused me and the kids."
The woman was removed from the building and called into Whitesel's office the next day.
"The fan was a mother, and she reacted to what she thought was a racial overture when the coach smelled the wrestler," Whitesel said.
Jackson and Fortson are both black.
"She was warned that if it happened again, she will be barred from athletic events."
When the pairings for the Duals were released, Glendale superintendent Dr. Pat Luksavich made the decision to pull out.
"We made the offer to drop down a seed and wrestle the number one seed [Huntingdon] or go to a neutral site to wrestle Mount Union," Damiano said.
MU athletic director Bill Shives said he also offered to use a neutral site or wrestle at Glendale. Ray Wotkowski, who heads the District 6 athletic committee, said a neutral site wasn't an option.
"Obviously, Glendale opted out of the tournament," Wotkowski said. "If there's a conflict, we look for the schools to remedy it. In the best interest of sportsmanship, we have to intervene. I would hope they would work it out."
Whitesel said he offered to be at the Duals match just in case something happened.
"I think Glendale is punishing their wrestlers," Whitesel said. "I assured them there would not be another incident. I feel bad for their kids."
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.