Carmel Valley’s TPHS wrestling team season ends after late arrival
By Karen Billing
Torrey Pines wrestling team grapplers were missing from last weekend’s state championships. It’s not known whether any of the Falcon athletes would have competed at the meet as they were disqualified from the qualifying San Diego Section Masters Championships tournament on Feb. 25-26 due to the team’s arriving late to morning weigh-ins.
Torrey Pines tried to appeal the decision to keep their wrestlers out, but Masters officials denied their appeal.
“One wrestler probably would’ve qualified for state but he never got the opportunity,” said parent Kelly Hamilton of junior standout Luke Maffett.
Phone calls were not returned for comment from Coach Malachi Walker, Torrey Pines Athletic Director Anne Meigs and Principal Brett Killeen.
Several team parents also did not answer requests for comment.
Per the meet rules, the teams needed to arrive by 7 a.m. or they would be locked out. Some reports said the team arrived 15 minutes late, while Hamilton said they did not arrive until 7:30 a.m.
The kids were at Torrey Pines High at 6 a.m. as instructed, with the bus scheduled to leave at 6:10 a.m. for Canyon Crest Academy, less than three miles away. Hamilton said that Coach Walker told parents he overslept and arrived around 6:20 or 6:30 a.m. The team still had to be let in to get their equipment from the locker room before they left.
Hamilton was waiting in the stands on Friday morning to watch Torrey Pines and was puzzled when they did not show. He went home expecting an apology e-mail or call but parents did not hear from the coach until a meeting on Monday, Hamilton said. At that meeting, Hamilton said Walker then apologized for the circumstances.
Hamilton said it wasn’t the first time the team was late and missed a meet due to being late.
“My expectations of a coach are not many: Provide a safe environment, treat everyone equally, be a good role model and get the kids to every meet on time,” Hamilton said. “He let the team down.”
The 30-member team included just one senior, Kevin Bath, as well as a female wrestler, Ruby Lopez.
In one of their last meets against Westview in February, Maffett and sophomore Martin Suaste both had three takedowns in their varsity team victories.
The team also performed well at a meet against Mt. Carmel in January: Varsity sophomore Parker Sullivan had four takedowns and three escapes in his win. Varsity freshman Tim Gleeson and Maffett also recorded wins along with junior varsity members sophomore Joshua Kim and freshmen Danny Cox and Keeghan Grodi.
“For the younger wrestlers, (Masters) is just a chance to compete at CIF championships,” Hamilton said. “It’s what the whole season builds up to…It’s just unfortunate we weren’t there. How much the kids improved over the season, we don’t know.”
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