CLEARWATER — Calvary Christian wrestler Danny Rogers competed in 23 matches during the regular season but missed a chance to qualify for regionals Friday when his season ended on a forfeit in a district tournament.
The forfeit was to Taira Salahutdin, a female wrestler from Berkeley Prep. New rules this year at Calvary Christian prohibit boys from wrestling girls. Salahutdin, along with seven Berkeley Prep teammates, advanced. Before the forfeit, Rogers had a strong shot to advance as the No. 4 seed in the 140-pound weight class.
Calvary Christian coach Jim McCann said that in previous years, Rogers' family would have decided whether to allow their son to wrestle a girl. But before this school year, Calvary Christian hired a new athletic director, and McCann said he recommended boys shouldn't touch girls in wrestling. The rule was approved. "I'm bound to follow the school rules," he said.
Berkeley Prep coach Al Blount said Salahutdin, a junior who has wrestled for five years, took second at a state girls tournament last year. She enters regionals with a 12-16 record. Blount said her wins are a mix of forfeits and legitimate victories over boys.
Last weekend at a tournament at Admiral Farragut, Jared Ballew of Indian Rocks Christian had his tourney end when he was set to face Pinellas Park's Stacy Alves. School rules also prohibited Ballew from wrestling a girl.