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|HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW: Midlands appearance costs Jantzen rest of high school season|
By Rob Sherrill W.I.N. High School Editor
In December, Shoreham (N.Y.) S.-Wading River High senior Corey Jantzen became the fourth high school wrestler to compete in the prestigious Midlands Championships at Evanston, Ill. Jantzen made the most of his appearance in the elite collegiate event, finishing seventh at 133.
Unlike the first three high school competitors, however, Jantzen may have paid the ultimate price for stepping outside his comfort zone.
The Newsday newspaper of Long Island, N.Y. has reported that Jantzen, the Division 1 state champion at 125 last season, has been declared ineligible for the rest of the season by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA). The reason: Jantzen apparently violated an association rule that prohibits high school wrestlers from competing against college wrestlers.
Jantzen, who will enroll next year at Harvard, the same school at which his older brother, Jesse, won an NCAA championship, competed in the Midlands as an unattached entry.
Don Jantzen, Corey's father and Shoreham-Wading River's coach, said the school was proactive in an attempt to satisfy all eligibility issues raised by Corey Jantzen's participation in the Midlands.
"We have a letter from my athletic director that states that Corey's participation in the Midlands will not affect his eligibility in high school," Don Jantzen told Newsday. "We made every attempt to address this issue prior to Corey's participation in the Midlands and we thought the issue was addressed and resolved. We started the process one month prior to the tournament to make sure everything was done appropriately."
But Ed Cinelli, executive director of NYSPHSAA Section 11, which encompasses Long Island's Suffolk County, informed Shoreham-Wading River officials of the ruling against Jantzen after consulting with NYSPHSAA executive director Nina Van Erk.
"We have a rule in the state handbook that is very clear and states student-athletes cannot compete against college athletes," Cinelli told Newsday. "We don't give a waiver of a rule of this nature. I was never given any indication that he was competing in a collegiate tournament."
Regardless of who was in the wrong in this case, this ruling has to be overturned. As Jantzen is only the fourth high school wrestler ever to compete in the Midlands in its 45-year history, this is not a rule that is likely to be abused, regardless of the sport. It will be interesting to see whether this is the final word. Let's hope it's not.
Don Jantzen's letter explaining incident
Duals to take center stage this weekend
New York's premier dual-meet event, the Union-Endicott Duals, takes place this weekend in the heart of rugged Section 4, at Endicott Union-Endicott High in the state's Southern Tier. The always-loaded field includes nine of the state's top 10 teams, according to the New York State Sports Writers Association: No. 1 Binghamton Chenango Forks High, No. 2 Islip High, No. 4 Fulton High, No. 5 Spencerport High and No. 6 Ontario Center Wayne High.
Add in No. 7 East Meadow High, No. 8 Levittown MacArthur High, No. 9 Mexico High, No. 10 Johnson City High - the defending duals champion - and No. 12 Brockport High for good measure, and most of the meet will go right down to the wire. Johnson City edged Islip, the 2004 champion, 25-24, in last year's final.
And at Iowa City (Iowa) West High, the Lepic Duals could feature yet another finals between the host school and Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park High. Oak Park was a pair of lopsided victories the past two seasons, but this weekend's showdown could be considerably closer.
Despite wrestling many of its stars up a weight, Oak Park still broke its own tournament scoring record for the third consecutive year, scoring 343.5 points to win the Granite City (Ill.) Tournament Dec. 29-30. The Northmen won the event by 100 points over House Springs (Mo.) Northwest High, with host Granite City finishing third.
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