Suspensions of girls wrestlers lifted
Three Beamer girls wrestlers declared ineligible after participating in a California tournament this month had their suspensions lifted by the WIAA.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Two of the state's top female wrestlers are back on the mat for Beamer High School preparing for the postseason, which begins this Friday.
Sophomores Arian Carpio and Vanessa Dixon, along with eighth-grader Auna Carpio, Arian's sister, had been declared ineligible for one year after participating in a California tournament this month. Arian (112 pounds) and Vanessa (145) are ranked No. 1 in the state in their weight classifications.
Mike Colbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, said he granted "immediate reinstatement" following an appeal hearing last Friday. He said there was "miscommunication" between the event coordinators over the role an adult played in enrolling the wrestlers.
"To me, that was something that the adults made a mistake with and fouled up on, and I wasn't going to have kids be penalized for that," Colbrese said Tuesday.
The tournament, the Napa Valley Girls Classic, is apparently an event for wrestlers representing their high schools. However, the three girls were entered as members of their club, the Federal Way Spartans, according to club coach Gerald Carpio, the father of Arian and Auna. He filled out the entries and coached the girls at the tournament.
WIAA regulation 23.1.0 states "No school team or individual contestant shall be eligible to represent a school in an athletic contest unless the coach is an employee of the school district in which he/she coaches." Carpio is not a Federal Way School District employee. However, he said the girls were not representing Beamer and wore their club singlets.
"He said he knew he couldn't represent the school," Colbrese said.
The penalty for violation of the regulation is a one-year suspension for the athletes involved.
Gerald Carpio said he believes the suspensions were "an act of harassment and retaliation" against him for formal complaints he had filed against Beamer regarding "safety and equality for female wrestlers." He also filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and said some changes in the program followed.
The reinstatement came in time for Auna to compete in the Federal Way School District's middle-school tournament last Saturday, and she won her 99-pound classification.
Last season, Arian Carpio placed second at state at 106 pounds, while Dixon finished third at 137. They will wrestle in the SPSL subregional this Friday and Saturday at Curtis High School.
Vince Blauser, Federal Way's executive director of secondary education and athletics, said Tuesday that the decision to reinstate the wrestlers "was the right call."
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org