A controversial Catholic girl/boy wrestling policy leads to strange situation

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 15, 2016 5:53 AM

(Lancaster) -- A controversial Harrisburg Roman Catholic diocesan policy that forces male wrestlers to forfeit if they're matched up with a female led to a strange situation at a recent wrestling tournament.

At the tournament about a week ago, the match was tied with three wrestlers to go.

But J.P. McCaskey's coach Isaias Rodriguez announced two females - from the junior varsity squad - would be wrestling.

Following Harrisburg diocesan policy, Delone Catholic had to forfeit the two individual matches, and thus, lost the team match.

Frank Sneeringer is head coach of the team from Adams County.

"I feel bad for the whole team, not just those two because it was greater than that. It was also kinda that the kids took it as not just a defeat but saying we have these values and these things that we stand for, and somebody used that against us," says Sneeringer.

"I would hope in a high school athletic competition, that the coaches have integrity, that the program has integrity, that you respect our program, that you respect what we stand for."

J.P. McCaskey is part of the Lancaster public school system and the Athletic Director Jonathan Mitchell says he's met with the wrestling coach.

"In this case, do I think this was the most honorable decision? No. Can I tell you that in the future I'll have this conversation? I can tell you I've already had this conversation."

"Do I think that this situation exhibits the best of high school athletics? The simple answer to that is no."

"What I think it does exhibit is an opportunity for growth in the area for a lot of different people."

Mitchell wants something positive to come out of the experience - he says more females should have more opportunities to wrestle.

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