|Q and A with Lynn Dyche: Officials hold up well with stakes high at NCAAs|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
It's been a busy and hectic week, as usual, for the match officials at the NCAA Championships. Lynn Dyche, the long-time coordinator of evaluators for the officials, said the match officials have handled a couple tough situations well in this year's tournament.
TheMat.com: What was your interpretation of what happened when Minnesota's Mack Reiter was disqualified for a slam in his 133-pound quarterfinal match with Purdue's Chris Fleeger on Friday morning?
Dyche: From what I saw, the Minnesota wrestler picked him up and put him down real hard. It was the Minnesota wrestler's responsibility to return the Purdue wrestler to the mat safely and the officials didn't feel he did that. I felt it was a slam right away. The kid landed pretty hard.
TheMat.com: Why was the third period re-wrestled in the consolation bout between Minnesota's Gabriel Dretsch and Ohio State's Blake Mauer at 174 on Thursday night. Mauer originally was credited with the win, but Dretsch prevailed 6-1 when the third period was re-wrestled about an hour after the match originally ended.
Dyche: To the best of my knowledge, the assistant referee called locking hands. Technically, one arm was around the leg but the other arm was through the legs. So it wasn't encircling the legs, which is how the rule is read so therefore it wasn't locking hands where you encircle the legs. So the call was overruled. The Minnesota coach apparently teaches that move and knew right away it wasn't locking hands so he filed a protest.
TheMat.com: Have you had very many situations where matches had to be re-wrestled?
Dyche: Oh yes. We've had three or four situations in the last five years where matches or parts of matches have had to be re-wrestled. That's why we have a protest committee. We want to make sure we get it right.
TheMat.com: These officials are under a lot of pressure in this tournament with the stakes so high. How difficult is their job?
Dyche: I think it's extremely tough. Not only do they have to referee, but in the back of their mind they know they are being evaluated in every match they do. We have 10 evaluators here and the top 10 ranked officials from the first five sessions are selected to do the finals. That's a little added stress. This is the big dance - what they shoot for all year. It's a real status thing to do a finals match. They want to do the best job they possibly can.
TheMat.com: You normally have 20 officials working the tournament, but only had 19 this year. What happened?
Dyche: Mike Hagerty, who did a finals match last year, came in to work the tournament this week but on Wednesday night he had to go to the hospital with kidney stones. He had surgery (Friday). We have alternates, but nobody was here since Mike was here and ready to work the tournament the night before it started. He was at our meeting Wednesday night, but ended up going to the hospital at 10 o'clock. Hopefully, Mike will be OK. It puts a little pressure on the other guys when you lose an official. They don't get as much rest. They're out here 3½ hours a session with very little break. That's tough.