Wrestling championship questioned following maneuver deemed illegal

Friday, March 4, 2016
Two-time state champion Pierce Mederios faced Minoco's Eddie Daniels for the state title in the 113-pound weight class. Mederios lost the match after Daniels used what the Mountain Home coaching staff contends was an illegal maneuver that could've inflicted serious injuries on both competitors. (Photo by Caitlyn Dolan)

The outcome of this year's state wrestling championship was called into question this week following an incident during one match that Mountain Home High School's coaching staff contends was illegal.

At issue was a match involving two-time state champion Pierce Mederios, who faced Eddie Daniels from Minoco High School for the state title in the 113-pound weight class.

With the match tied and going into the overtime period, Mederios took a shot and got Daniels' leg up off the ground with 15 seconds remaining.

As Mederios attempted to trip his opponent backward, Daniels jumped into a backflip, which caused both wrestlers to land on their heads.

At this point, Daniels scrambled on top and was awarded the winning takedown by the officials on the mat.

However, Mountain Home coach Lynn Knutson and assistant coach Scott Mederios protested the call, stating that a backflip from a standing position is illegal.

In a letter to the Idaho High School Activities Association, the Mountain Home coaches are urging the organization to reverse the decision on the mat.

"We are extremely lucky that neither wrestler suffered a head, neck or back injury," the Mountain Home wrestling coaches stated in their letter to the IHSAA.

The head official at the tournament reviewed the video of the match and immediately agreed the backflip was illegal, the coaches added.

In addition to nearly causing both wrestlers to sustain serious injuries, the ruling on the mat cost Mederios a state title. It's a right "that is earned not simply in those seven minutes but in a young lifetime of blood, sweat and tears," they added.

Despite the controversy of the one match, Mountain Home had one of its wrestlers earned a state title while five others placed during the state championship, which wrapped up last week.

Taylor Ogaard bested the competition in the 220-pound weight class to claim a championship crown. Meanwhile, Mederios finished second overall in his division.

In other state results, Jose Ortiz finish third in the 285. Those finishing fifth were Gavin Hazell in the 98 and Kanoa Doronio at 120. Meanwhile, Jonathan Kaiser was sixth in the 285.

Despite the controversy regarding the one match, Knutson said the Tigers did a great job at state.

"The kids that placed wrestled their hearts out over the weekend. I'm very proud of them," Knutson said. "We had good performances from the others, but they just came up short on points in their matches.

"This group has done some amazing things this year, like a 19-1 dual meet season and always in the hunt for a tournament win. Can't complain as a coach after a season like that," the coach added.

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