(This article was written and released by Joe Tuscano of the Observer-Reporter. The original article can be found by clicking here.)
HERSHEY – Most wrestlers can’t stand it but the forfeit is a sign of respect in the sport of high school wrestling.
Opposing coaches who forfeit a weight class rather than put someone out there are saying they don’t think their wrestler is good enough to avoid getting pinned.
Their strategy normally doesn’t work. For those receiving a forfeit, it can be frustrating. All the preparation for a big bout seems to dissipate with the raising of the hand.
For Brandon Dami of Canon-McMillan, it happened twice in the PIAA Class 3A Team Tournament in Hershey over the weekend at the Giant Center.
Dami is having that type of season, where opposing coaches are willing to give up six points rather than send a wrestler out to try his luck.
The first time it happened in the tournament, Canon-McMillan defeated rival Waynesburg, 33-32, in the consolation round. The second time it happened was in the next bout, for third place, a 36-31 loss to Central Dauphin.
“I started to see that here, especially against Waynesburg, when they bumped everyone up to get away from me,” said Dami. “They showed a little bit of respect for me.”
And why not?
Dami is having his best season in his four years at Canon-McMillan. He has a 29-6 record and is just five wins shy of 100.
But it’s the way he’s winning that gets the attention of opposing coaches. Of his 29 wins, 14 have come by pins, including a string of seven in a row in under three minutes.
And four wins have come by forfeit this season.
“Yeah, it stinks because you always want the matches,” said Dami, a senior 121 pounder. “It shows they have respect for me. It’s a win and it’s six points so I can’t complain.”
Dami has been wrestling for 14 years, evenly split between the Trinity you program and, after he moved to Canonsburg, the Canon-McMillan program.
“What does he do well on the mat? His mat awareness, strategy. He’s just so aware of what he’s doing all the time,” said Canon-McMillan head coach Brian Krenzelak. “He’s great at situational wrestling. He controls the pace. He knows where he’s at on the mat. He protects leads. He’s an excellent strategist and technician.”
Dami’s best move is his cross-face, the move he’s converted into numerous pins in his career.
“I’m an unorthodox wrestler, a little funky,” said Dami. “I’m hard to wrestle. When a kid shoots in on me and we get in those funks, scrambling around, more often than not I get takedowns and backpoints. Yes, I feel I owe a lot of that to my funky style.”
Which is why it’s smarter to just forfeit to Dami.