Delone Catholic lost a match to J.P McCaskey on Saturday in the Canner Duels due to a Harrisburg Catholic Diocese rule that requires wrestlers to forfeit to female opponents. Shane Dunlap, GameTimePA
The situation of Delone Catholic forfeiting to a female wrestler did not present itself in the Squires' win against Hanover, despite the fact that the Nighthawks' usual starting 113-pounder is a girl.
But the topic was certainly a part of conversation throughout the school gymnasium, five days removed from Delone Catholic forfeiting two key matches in a controversial loss to J.P. McCaskey at the Canner Duals. The Red Tornadoes sent out two junior varsity girls to take forfeits at that match, taking advantage of a Diocese of Harrisburg policy that doesn't allow male wrestlers at Catholic schools to wrestle against females.
Hanover typically starts freshman Kyli Caler at 113 pounds, but she did not make the trip for the match against Delone Catholic on Thursday. Her absence, though, had nothing to do with the Diocese policy.
“She made a bad decision and is being reprimanded," Hanover coach Kurt Brenner said. "But if she was here she 100 percent would have wrestled. She’s the starter of our team. That rule is there and I respect what they do, but she’s our 113-pounder and she would have gone out.”
Had Caler gone out to earn the forfeit, Squires coach Frank Sneeringer said he wouldn't have had a problem with giving up those six points since she is the team's usual starter.
“I gave Coach Brenner a call earlier this week to let him know that the issue is not girls wrestling," Sneeringer said. "It was the unsportsmanlike spirit. If she was in the lineup, we would’ve just forfeited to her and just bumped (our 113-pounder) up. That wasn’t what the issue was last weekend.”
Opinions throughout the gym were mixed regarding the Diocese rule and the way J.P. McCaskey used it to its advantage:
Ralph Hartlaub, retired District 3 referee who regularly attends matches in the Hanover area as a spectator: “It’s cheap, but that’s the rule. They didn’t cause it, the Diocese caused it. That’s the ones that caused the problem. You can’t blame that on the other team; you go for points. It’s gonna happen. I don’t like it, but what are you gonna do?”
Dona Shermeyer, parent of Delone Catholic junior Brian Shermeyer: “I think it should be an individual parent choice. If the parent’s ok with the girl wrestling, then let the girl wrestle. If the parent’s are ok with their boys wrestling girls, then let them wrestle. But that’s not my choice, it came through the Diocese and we have to go along with whatever they say.”
Opinions on the issue were also mixed on social media this week: