wrestler Andrew Haft described the experience as “devastating.”
“This is the tournament the team trains for the entire year,” said Haft, the captain of the Hawks’ wrestling team, which was not permitted to compete in Saturdays’ Nassau County Qualifying Tournament because of a computer registration mistake.
“The reason I want my voice to be heard is because I never want this to happen again to future wrestlers,” said Haft, a senior and multiple varsity athlete. “This was an embarrassment to our school and to the entire Plainview community."
Superintendent agrees and has asked his staff to investigate what went wrong and to prevent it from happening again.
“First let me say how very saddened and upset we are that our students weren’t able to participate in the meet,” Dempsey said Tuesday. “This was a mistake on our part and is on our hands.”
Dempsey said the mistake occurred when Plainview’s coaching staff failed to enter computer records associated with the various wrestlers. The data, which determines the seeding for the competitors – an electronic method for determining who wrestles whom – was due Thursday. Plainview missed the deadline.
Dempsey said Plainview’s head coach believed an assistant coach had made the computerized entries for the five athletes who were heading to the competition. Two of the five are seniors.
When the team arrived at the tournament, they were told they couldn’t compete. It is not yet clear yet whether the problem was simply one of poor communications., Dempsey said.
At first, Dempsey said the district attempted to appeal to Section VIII, which governs high sports on Long Island. Since the competition had already taken place, Plainview was told there was nothing that could be done.
Dempsey has asked deputy superintendent for human resources, to investigate “what went wrong and what should have been checked.” Discussions with various department heads, including the athletic director, Kevin McDermott, are ongoing, Dempsey said.
The national wrestling database has been in place for three years now, Dempsey said. Prior to that, the seeds were determined mathematically.
“I want to make it clear that this isn’t about me, but about the team,” said Haft, who will be attending the University of Arizona in the fall. He will join his older brother, also a former Plainview wrestler, at Arizona, which doesn’t have a NCAA wrestling program.
For Haft, a well-spoken young man and standout athlete, these were to be his final wrestling matches:
“It’s the fact that we worked so hard to get there, and to have this happen is devastating,” he said. “The coaches have said they’re sorry but there’s nothing to make this better.”