Wall in, Neptune out of state tournament

Wall in, Neptune out of state tournament

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Wall in, Neptune out of state tournament

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Four schools, including Wall, were placed back into the NJSIAA Team Wrestling Tournament on Wednesday morning, NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko said.

Timko said the decision came after it was realized the written regulations on the NJSIAA’s website did not contain the rule the association’s seeding committee used on Tuesday, and according to Timko, had been using since 2009, to place those schools out of the tournament.

He said two of the four schools that were placed out of the tournament on Tuesday had appealed to him by Tuesday afternoon. Timko declided to say which schools appealed. Wall did not file an appeal, its athletic director Tom Ridoux said Tuesday night and again on Wednesday.

The decision means four schools that were seeded into the tournament on Tuesday, including Neptune, are not in the tournament.

Neptune athletic director Lori Burns said her school will not appeal the NJSIAA’s decision.

“The NJSIAA stands firm on their decision,” Burns said. There’s really no way to appeal it. They are the governing body. We have to go by whatever they decide. We looked into it, and basically, the regulations are the official word.”

The decision left Neptune coach Tim Jobes frustrated and upset. Neptune, according to Jobes, has not qualified for the state tournament, since 1987.

“I don’t understand how the state can revert the decision and revert the process it had been using since 2009,” Jobes said.

The rule used to originally seed Neptune (Central Group III), Washington Township (South Group IV), Audubon (South Group I) and Somerville (North II, Group III) in the tournament in place of Wall (Central Group III), Cherokee (South Group IV), Woodstown (South Group I) and JFK-Iselin (North II, Group III) was that a team that finished seventh in the power points in its section could jump over the No. 6 team in the power points in its section via a head-to-head win. Only six teams qualify in each section.

“It was never in the regs (regulations),” Timko said. “After talking with (NJSIAA Tournament director) Howie (O’Neill) on Tuesday night, we came to the conclusion if our regs say one thing, we can’t do another. We have to go by our regs.”

Timko said the seeding is not official until noon today, which has been standard practice through the years.

“We found a correctable error,” Timko said. “Our goal is to make sure the right teams are seeded in the right place. Neptune is not one of the top six teams (in the power points).”

Wall, the No. 6 seed in Central III, will wrestle at No. 3 seed Hopewell Valley on Monday in a first-round match.

“I’m happy for our kids. I know they’re excited,” Ridoux said. “But, I feel badly for Neptune. I realize how they feel. I know how I felt (on Tuesday). I feel badly about their situation. I feel moving forward the state needs to remedy the situation and make sure the regulations they follow are up to date. I’m confident they’re going to do that.”

Timko admitted to confirming he told the seeding committee, which consists of the eight region ranking chairmen, before the seeding process began on Tuesday, to use the rule the committee had used since 2009. He said six of the eight region ranking chairmen, who were in their positions in 2009, remembered there had been a rule change.

“It’s a shame they didn’t update the website (to reflect the change), but I don’t understand how if it has been past practice, how you can reverse the decision, especially since (Timko) said (the seeding committee is) sticking to it,” Jobes said.

“The specifics within the NJSIAA need to be worked on,” Burns said. “It comes down to what the regulations say and the regulations say top six teams.”

That change in 2009 also contained pre-seeding the top eight teams in the power points in each section allowing for movement via head-to-head results taking place from eight up.

However, the regulations on the NJSIAA’s website only talk about movement taking place within the top six in the power points.

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