Great Competitors, Controversial Call.
On this special episode, Matt Dernlan sits down with Ivy League’s all-time winningest wrestling coach, Cornell Head Coach Rob Koll. Along with being the Head Coach at Cornell he also coaches his wrestlers as they pursue Olympic and World Championship dreams in Freestyle wrestling. Koll was in Yianni Diakomihalis’ corner during the very controversial match between Diakomihalis and Zain Retherford at Final X Rutgers. Koll begins by talking about how great of a competitor Retherford is as well as how good of an overall person he is. Koll doesn’t believe Retherford or is coaches corner including Cael Sanderson did anything wrong by challenging the call.
After the first period and a series of exciting scrambles, Diakomihalis was up 8-6 at the end of the match. Retherford’s coach Cael Sanderson challenged the sequence that awarded Diakomihalis two exposure points with just under a minute left in the second. After a long review, they took away the points and awarded Retherford the win 6-6 with criteria.
Not Given a Chance (1:52)
Koll states that if they would have thrown the brick right after what they were challenging happened, Diakomihalis would have had a chance with those 50 seconds to wrestle and make up the points. Koll believes the head official should be sanctioned and not be able to be in a position to make these mistakes again in the future. After diving deep into the rule book and realizing all the mistakes that were made it is frustrating. It’s also frustrating when an official is rationalizing a call that contradicts another call.
Initial Reaction (5:08)
Dernlan attended Final X Rutgers and while watching his initial reaction was questioning why they didn’t stop the sequence and get a unanimous decision when the two side judges had a different score than the official on the mat. There shouldn’t be a need for a challenge from a corner when there is a score discrepancy between officials. Initially, they thought the challenge was looking at the exposure points at the very last seconds. Once they saw the officials going back 50 seconds is when they attempted to challenge the challenge. This was denied and they were told you are not allowed to do so.
Koll asked who he can petition this call with and was told, Rick Tucci. The person that denied the protest on the mat and allowed a challenge to go back 50 seconds is who Koll was told to petition to and make his case to. Yesterday, Koll had a meeting with the United States Olympic Committee and is in the process of writing up his argument. At the end of the day, Koll is still unclear how far up he’ll have to go up through USA Wrestling, USA Olympic Committee, or UWW to get an official decision.
Life Changing (17:38)
Dernlan and Koll speak to the ramifications this has on an athletes life. It is a huge advantage to medal and sit out until the Olympic Trials next year. It is life changing to be a world medalist but even more so an Olympic Medalist. That comes with opportunities that wouldn’t present themselves otherwise so this is not a small decision without consequences on either side. They go on to discuss how much the rules change year to year. This is why it’s almost impossible to take years off and then jump into a high-level match and be expected to make the right calls.
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Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan host the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. Askren, World Champion, and Olympic Wrestler joins in official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from years of experience in D1 college coaching at Binghamton, Clarion, and Penn State University.
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