By Vern Hee
TONOPAH — There will be no wrestling at Tonopah High School this year, according to principal Alvin Eiseman.
Eiseman was disappointed but had to make the tough decision on not continuing the program this year.
“We had to look at numbers and we just do not have the numbers to continue with wrestling this year. If we get the numbers next year, then we can reinstate the program. By no means is the program cut. We have had low numbers before but this will be the first time that I can remember that we could not save it,” he said.
Duffy Otteson, Muckers head wrestling coach, said it was a numbers game but does not agree with the principal’s numbers.
“We have 11 wrestlers but they can’t seem to be at practice when our principal comes down to count. We have six wrestlers that have been coming to practice every day. So with that said, our principal said no go for this year. We did have four wrestlers that were returning state qualifiers, but one found out the second day of practice he has to get knee surgery. So he was out. One of the returning wrestlers was the runner-up at 220 pounds last year. That is Aidan Gromis. He has been wrestling for three years. This was his senior year and he would have won at state at heavyweights easy. The Nye County rule states that we have to have 10 wrestlers. Well, I think that is high,” said Otteson.
Otteson is not new to coaching. He also coaches the football program at the school.
“They say it is to save money, but I don’t see how it saves money. If we have 10 wrestlers, we have to take a bus. If we have five, we can take a van and they don’t have to pay a driver. To say the least, I am not too happy about this. Why can’t they give us a grace year? I mean, I have three kids that would for sure place in state this year and possibly one more,” remarked the aggravated coach.
The parents of the wrestlers are equally upset.
Connie Ayers said she could not believe that this was happening to the program. Ayers has two wrestlers in the family.
“We think this is wrong. We talked to the principal and he would just not change his mind. I want to take this up with Dale Norton, the superintendent, but I have not got a return call. I just do not understand where this number 10 comes from. I feel they should be able to wrestle with any number. Our general fear is that this program will not come back if they cancel it this year. This is not over,” remarked Ayers.
Ayers is hoping to fight the principal’s decision along with other parents from the high school.
Norton said he is standing by district policy. He said he can sympathize with the parents and the coach, but a line must be drawn.
“I will stand by the policy. I even allowed Eiseman to go down to seven wrestlers. How far are we willing to go down to? Will we pay for two coaches for five wrestlers? How far? This tears me up. The program though can come back if we see the numbers come back,” he said.
Norton closed by challenging the parents to come up with an alternative plan.