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Big Picture w/ CIF Approaching
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3 posts
Feb 04, 2018
3:27 PM
As we approach CIF, I always like to remember this moment. I couldn't have made this choice if I wasn't considering these circumstances beforehand. Remember that winning is important, but the legacy we leave and the integrity with which we operate is more important. You always have a choice.

Adam Logue
Mira Mesa Varsity Assitant

"Saturday's New Castle semistate was loaded with drama. A No. 1-ranked wrestler was almost disqualified, a mammoth upset took place (Cody Phillips, the No. 3-ranked 112 pounder in the nation lost) and four New Castle wrestlers advanced to the state tournament.

Security had to be called onto the floor on more than one occasion during the day. One wrestler's mother was escorted off the mat. Wrestlers, coaches and fans vehemently argued calls. Such is the nature of the beast when it comes to semistate wrestling. So much is at stake, especially in the first two rounds when it's lose once and you're done.

But the most interesting story of the day belonged to a Western Boone freshman that by all accounts could have been awarded a victory over the No. 2-ranked 135 pounder in the state.

Austin McCloskey, a semistate qualifying freshman from Western Boone, had the dubious task of going up against Roncalli's undefeated senior Justin Kieffer in the opening round.

As soon as action began, Kieffer shot in at McCloskey's legs and lifted him up into the air. Kieffer then slammed McCloskey back to the mat in a way that he never intended to do, directly on McCloskey's head. McCloskey was hurt, and it was evident that he would not be able to continue wrestling.

Since it is illegal to slam an opponent on his head, McCloskey could have been awarded the victory. In wrestling, if a competitor performs an illegal move that results in the opponent being injured and not able to finish the match, the wrestler that is injured is awarded the victory.

A similar situation happened to New Castle's Eli Alafogianis a few years ago at the Richmond regional. Alafogianis performed a move that was deemed illegal, and the Milan kid he was wrestling milked it for all it was worth. The Milan kid acted like he couldn't possibly finish the match. Alafogianis was disqualified and later the Milan kid had no trouble climbing to the podium to receive his second-place ribbon.

Luckily for Alafogianis that loss didn't hurt him. He had already qualified for semistate. Big Greek, as people around New Castle call him, eventually placed third in state.

The McCloskey incident was in the first round of semistate. If he chose to injury default because of the slam, Kieffer's hopes for a state title would have ended right there. Kieffer, a senior, would have just wrestled his last high school match.

That's not what McCloskey wanted. If he was going to be given a victory over such a high-profile wrestler, he wanted to earn it on the mat, not on a legality that was the result of an accident.

McCloskey, his parents and Western Boone coach Adam Logue decided to default the match, which is basically withdrawing from the competition. That allowed Kieffer to be awarded the victory and advance to the next round. Kieffer eventually won the semistate. He is currently 40-0.

"What that kid (McCloskey) did was amazing," Roncalli coach Lance Ellis said. "I can't say enough about how much of a class act they were in the way they handled it. A lot of people wouldn't have done what they did. That could have been the end of Justin's high school career."

Logue said it was a decision based on ethics.

"You preach all season about integrity, doing the right thing and brotherhood," Logue said. "We really try to work on that. When it comes down to it, you have to put your money where your mouth is. At that point, it was the right thing to do."

McCloskey wanted to continue wrestling.

"I've been taught all my life not to quit at anything," McCloskey said. "But coach and my dad told me that I couldn't go back out there."

Ellis called McCloskey's dad Sunday evening to find out if he was recovering from the injury. The Roncalli coach said if there was anything they could do to help McCloskey out they'd be glad to.

McCloskey did have one, slightly unusual request. He wanted the Kieffer brothers (Justin, Joe and Josh) to come to Western Boone and wrestle with him after the state finals. He is hoping to learn from the older Kieffers. The Kieffers have agreed to do so.

"In order to be the best you have to beat the best," McCloskey said. "I want to learn from them. Justin Kieffer has a chance at winning state. He is a senior and this is his last year. I have three more years to leave my mark. It was only right not taking away his chance at this. I will be at state rooting for him to win it."

McCloskey's season ended Saturday, short of his ultimate goal of winning a state title. But in this me-first world it's refreshing to know that some people still look out for others. Austin McCloskey, you have earned yourself a whole bunch of new fans for your actions Saturday."

Jeremy Hines is the sports editor of The Courier-Times.
23 posts
Feb 10, 2018
12:37 PM
Agree it is all about integrity but you can't just talk about it. You have exercise integrity and model character for your kids. You shouldn't have walked out of the tournament upset because you lost a dual at CIF. You had an opportunity to show everyone.. but you failed the test. I feel sorry for those wrestlers at MM.
24 posts
Feb 10, 2018
12:37 PM
Agree it is all about integrity but you can't just talk about it. You have exercise integrity and model character for your kids. You shouldn't have walked out of the tournament upset because you lost a dual at CIF. You had an opportunity to show everyone.. but you failed the test. I feel sorry for those wrestlers at MM.
41 posts
Feb 11, 2018
8:40 AM
From the viewpoint of a wrestler who has competed in them, the CIF duals are a joke. I understand the thought process behind them, but why risk injuries for a cool title that ultimately means very little. I talked to my coach afterwards and he chose to forfeit the 3rd/4th dual to protect the health of his team. If you would've done something different then I'm sorry for the wrestlers on your team.
Colin Baldwin
Mira Mesa Alumni
2 posts
Feb 11, 2018
12:03 PM
The CIF Duals are not mandatory. So if you're worried about wrestlers health then why enter? Why wrestle the first dual? seems like the only thing he was protecting was his Ego.

Last Edited by alexdero56 on Feb 11, 2018 12:04 PM
138 posts
Feb 11, 2018
8:17 PM
I made the two hour drive from Santa Ana to San Diego to watch the CIF dual Championships but was flabbergasted when a Quarter Final Championship winner decided to FORFEIT rather than face the number ONE team in their division! If as a COACH you are NOT committed 100 percent to the Dual Tournament then please don’t come. Allow some other team who truly wants to compete the opportunity to move forward and give their Wrestlers the opportunity to win by COMPETING rather than your cowardly EXIT! UGH ??

Last Edited by jorgemo on Feb 11, 2018 8:18 PM
199 posts
Feb 11, 2018
8:48 PM
Oh man, people not too happy with that decision.

Last Edited by member165 on Feb 12, 2018 12:25 PM
632 posts
Feb 12, 2018
7:53 PM
Why would anyone want to run away from a challenge? Wrestle your match. Your opponent will expose your weaknesses that you can see and work on before CIF.

I never let my boys run from a match. I would record so they can see what they needed to improve on. A person improves with the challenges he meets. A person should never reject an opportunity to improve by meeting the competition. To fear an injury is ridiculous because an injury can happen in the room or anywhere else. The kids are warriors and should be given the opportunity to be warriors.

"In order to be the best you have to beat the best, McCloskey said. I want to learn from them."

Take advantage of the opportunities you have in front of you.
3 posts
Feb 12, 2018
9:30 PM
That's how you teach integrity?
Pulling your boys off of the mat?
I'd love to hear what you told your seniors, when you pulled them off of the mat when they only have one, or maybe two weeks left of wrestling left in them. I know our seniors weren't happy that that memory was taken from them.
This was the most unsportsmanlike gesture that I've ever seen. I can't win first so I'm leaving....
One word to describe this.
4 posts
Feb 12, 2018
9:32 PM
Well said.
633 posts
Feb 13, 2018
8:41 AM
I saw this a few years ago and thought it was great. Wrestling is a lot more than just winning although that is the reason why we compete at anything but if your attitude is right, you can get a lot more of the lessons that this sport offers.

Last Chances

I worry that you are doing battle while unprepared and that I have failed in your preparation. As a father that is my greatest fear, that you are unprepared to face the challenges that will come before you. I want you to be prepared for your match, but I’ve come to realize that it is the matches themselves that, are in the long run, win or lose, the things that ARE preparing you.

I think that the greatest benefit from wrestling is learning to face challenges and to demand the most from yourself. You learn to fight when you think there is no more fight left within you. You learn to get up after you’ve fallen, time and time again. You learn about sacrifice and about pain. You learn to endure and to overcome. This is what I want for you, not because I wrestled, but because these lessons are the true gifts of this sport. So, those losses today were actually part of this gift, and an important part of the journey.

My dream for you is to not just win championships and fill your room with medals. My dream for you is much greater and I hope you get much more from wrestling. I hope you learn to strive for greatness even if you fail in the attempt. I hope you learn to get up one more time when you think you can’t get up any longer. I hope you learn to not only face your fears, but to stare them down.

Wrestling isn’t about winning. It is about the desire to win. It isn’t about success, but rather the determination to succeed. I want you to succeed as a wrestler, not to win state championships, but I want you to be a successful wrestler so you learn to be all that you can. This sport can help teach you that, if you let it. I look forward to the seasons of our future as you go through these lessons and I’ll be in your corner for each and every one of them. I love you.


I hope you guys enjoy this.
119 posts
Feb 13, 2018
10:22 AM
"It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That's why they are there - to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules - but to win.

And in truth, I've never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn't appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don't say these things because I believe in the 'brute' nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour -- his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear -- is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious."

Coach Vincent T. Lombardi
Green Bay Packers

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