When the Hampton Bays wrestling team takes to the mat at Elwood/John Glenn on Wednesday evening for the start of the Section XI Division II Dual Meet Championships it'll do so as League VIII champions.
Port Jefferson originally defeated Hampton Bays, 49-36, in the final dual meet of the season on January 9 to win the league title, but after going through its records, Port Jeff found itself in violation of Section XI rules when it had an ineligible wrestler compete in three of its four dual meets, Hampton Bays head coach Mike Lloyd explained late on Tuesday. Section XI, the governing body of Suffolk County high school athletics, therefore vacated three of the Royals victories from this season—against Hampton Bays, Center Moriches and Southampton—all matches that the ineligible wrestler competed in. Port Jeff's win over Babylon was held up since the ineligible wrestler did not compete in that match.
The Baymen therefore finished the season undefeated at 4-0 and were declared League VIII Champions, its first league title since 2005.
Although an immediate phone call was not returned by Section XI, records on its website, sectionxi.org, reveal that Port Jeff, originally seeded third in the dual meet tournament, was no longer in the brackets. Hampton Bays, originally seeded fourth, is now seeded third and received a first-round bye and advanced directly to the quarterfinals against host Glenn, the second seed. That match is scheduled to start tonight at 5:15 p.m.
Fourth-seeded Center Moriches and fifth-seeded Mattituck compete on the other side of the Division II bracket, and directly following that match, the winner will face top-seed Mount Sinai. The two remaining teams on Wednesday will advance to the championship match this Saturday, January 20, at Bay Shore High School at 2:30 p.m.
The way Lloyd was described the situation on Tuesday was that Port Jeff was looking to apply for a medical waiver for a wrestler who suffered a concussion earlier in the season. While going through its records in recent days, Port Jeff team officials realized that the wrestler in question, while he did have a doctor's note to clear him to wrestle, he didn't have the required amount of practice time before competing in actual dual meets and tournaments. Medical waivers are basically petitions by teams to Section XI looking to qualify a wrestler for the postseason if they don't have the required amount mat time from throughout the season due to an injury. But regardless of whether or not the waiver is granted by the county, a wrestler must still partake in the required 13 practices before competing in any matches.
Port Jeff self reported the infraction to section, Lloyd said, and if it weren't for that than nobody would have been the wiser.
"In the end we came up short for a variety of reasons. For us to get to where we got, it's a little bittersweet to get [the league title] this way," he said. "With just five seniors leaving, I still think it's a positive to have that win under our wrestlers belts, and they can come back stronger next year and do it the right way."