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Wheeling Park Wrestler Wins Fight To Compete in West Virginia State Tourney

ADAM CARMAN

WHEELING — Wheeling Park wrestler Adam Carman will make the trip to Huntington to compete in Monday’s West Virginia Class AAA state wrestling tournament.

A Wood County judge Friday morning granted the Carman family’s injunction against the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission to allow Carman, a freshman at 106 pounds, back into the tournament after the SSAC previously had said he could not participate.

“I was really excited,” the freshman said of the news. “I know my dad was battling with the SSAC for a while now, so I was like, ‘Finally we got a victory.'”

According to Carman’s father Mike Carman, the judge decided the impact on Adam would cause irreparable harm and the chances of any adverse effect to the SSAC or the tournament would be negligible at best.

“I think the big thing the judge said is that if this ruling cuts this quick, it’s going to discourage other athletes from self-reporting and making people aware,” Mike Carman, Adam’s father, said. “The fact that he was COVID negative, definitely weighed in on his decision.”

Adam and his family filed an injunction this week after being told he would not be able to compete due to the situation surrounding his weigh-in at the Region 1 tournament. According to Mike Carman, Adam’s mother tested positive for COVID-19 the Thursday after Easter after experiencing symptoms that Monday and getting tested that Tuesday. Carman was staying with his grandparents at that time and was not around his mother when she was symptomatic.

The family told Wheeling Park wrestling coach Brian Leggett that Carman would have to quarantine and miss the regional meet. Carman was the top seed in a five-wrestler bracket. Leggett and tournament officials agreed he could weigh in that day and, since the top seed got a first-round bye, could default his two matches and still make it to Huntington.

Later, Mike Carman said, the WVSSAC asked the Carman family to sign a letter saying he wasn’t in quarantine or forfeit his spot in the state tournament. The Carmans refused to sign the letter and filed an injunction to get Adam into the state tournament.

The injunction was granted in a little under an hour. Mike Carman said the petition was very detailed, and he thinks Ohio County co-filing the petition led to more credibility. There was also an affidavit by Wheeling Park wrestling coach Brian Leggett that Mike Carman believed helped, too.

“It’s not some angry parent out there that’s mad at the SSAC,” Mike Carman said. “It directly affects more than Adam himself. It’s a bigger issue whether he wrestles or not. We’ve had an outpouring of support from Wheeling Park High School, the Ohio County Board of Education, the community.

“It’s been wonderful the amount of support the community has given us,” he added. “And that’s how communities should be. If something is wrong, the community should stand up and defend it.”

Steve Bratke, the attorney Mike Carman hired for the injunction, stated he couldn’t take full credit for the win and wanted to give credit to the Ohio County Board of Education, who had its counsel at the hearing as well.

“In the long run, it’s the right decision,” Bratke said. “I’ve been involved in a variety of sports for a long time. Wrestling is sort of my passion, and I find that it’s nice to see when the kids are given the opportunity they earn. He’s just happy, I’m sure he gets the opportunity to compete, which is what this is all about.

Adam and Wheeling Park will compete for a state championship starting Monday. Adam’s first match is slated against Parkersburg South sophomore Brady Roberts.

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