Suspended Alabama wrestling powerhouse reinstated in time for state tournament

Suspended Alabama wrestling powerhouse reinstated in time for state tournament

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Suspended Alabama wrestling powerhouse reinstated in time for state tournament

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Seven weeks after being banned from postseason competition, Alabama’s top wrestling program can now continue its pursuit of a sixth consecutive state championship, according to AL.com.

Meeting the “corrective measures” required to ensure the team would not violate summer practice rules again, Thompson (Alabaster, Ala.) head coach Sean Weltzin and assistant Chris Pike were reinstated by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, and the Warriors were given the go-ahead to compete in the state tournament, per AL.com’s Josh Bean.

“Everyone is just relieved and excited to be able to compete,” first-year Thompson principal Wesley Hester told AL.com. “The players are very happy about having that opportunity. It’s been difficult. They’ve been practicing … but any competitor wants to compete for their school, themselves and their community.”

After the school self-reported violations, including coaches attending a summer wrestling camp where members of the team were present, the AHSAA placed Thompson and its coaches on restrictive probation on Nov. 20, barring them from all competition but regular-season dual meets until Monday, when the organization reexamined the school’s preventative measures.

Thompson won the Class 6A state championship from 2011-14 and the Class 7A title in 2015. With three returning individual state champions, the Warriors have to be considered favorites for a sixth straight state title this season.

The AHSAA released the following statement regarding Thompson wrestling’s reinstatement:

The Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), in accordance with AHSAA bylaws, has rescinded the restrictive probation placed on Thompson High School’s wrestling program, effective immediately.

In November, the AHSAA fined and placed Thompson High School on restrictive probation for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year for numerous violations of Contest bylaws in its wrestling program. The violations were self-reported. The school could apply for relief from that penalty by meeting several conditions set forth by the AHSAA.

Based on a review of evidence provided by the school’s administration, as of Jan. 4, the administrators and coaches of THS had met all requirements for reinstatement as outlined by the AHSAA and have demonstrated a commitment to an ongoing process to ensure that compliance and success of the THS wrestling program and all other athletic programs will be fully aligned with the rules, guidelines, goals, and direction of the AHSAA.

“The AHSAA is pleased with the cooperation of THS for fulfilling all obligations as outlined within the restrictive probation period,” Executive Director Steve Savarese said.

The restrictive probation has been replaced with a period of non-restrictive probation for a period of one year. Should any similar violations occur in the future, additional restrictive sanctions will be assessed.

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