I don't post often but when I do and there may be opposing views I post my name so there is no confusion where my opinion is coming from. This is Steve Sandefer Sr. Yes my son is the current head coach at Mishawaka, but other than that I am not an official administrator or coach at Mishawaka. I proudly support our community, school and team. I love wrestling and try to positively promote the sport at all levels....not just self serving to our own program. As such I do have some disappointment and contention to see such negative comments regarding individuals within a profession that give so much to support our sport of wrestling. The officiating crew that worked the Al Smith are top notch gentlemen that have given many many years of service to this sport. Many of those being criticized openly on social media are Hall of Fame individuals that have literally been involved in promoting this sport most of their lives.
We will soon be reaching a crisis situation in our State if we are not able to recruit and develop young officials that will shortly be NEEDED to replace these lifelong veterans. There is simply no way we can do this with the attitude displayed on social media by a few individuals that didn't have a match go their way this weekend.
To the simple fan or parent I can with almost 100% certainty guarantee that in the coach's meeting prior to the first match that this crew of officials explained exactly how stalling was going to be called. Most likely with examples for each situation. I can also assure you that 32 teams of coaches relayed this information to their wrestlers. But lets face it....we are still dealing with high school kids. They are still going to back up, play the outside edge, not circle in, lay on their stomachs no matter how many times a coach yells "UP", ride the hips while controlling on top without moving side to side. The philosophy is increased action. I get it....the call does not always go your way...but to get on a public forum and call out an entire crew for bias, call out the tournament director for being at fault, calling out a Hall of Fame Coach and official by name.....there is in my OPINION no place in this sport that allows for positive to come from that action.
If you are a wrestler on a team, a coach, a parent, an alumni of a program or just a fan...you have a responsibility to REPRESENT your program with the dignity and character your program deserves. Again IMO that cannot be done by casting shadows over others in our sport that selflessly have given their dedication and time to simply give YOUR kids the opportunities that are necessary for them to compete in this sport. Also keep in mind that in particular to the Al Smith Invitational...the key word is invitational. It has always been an honor to be a team that is invited and Mishawaka considers many factors when extending those invitations. This year was no exception and may have been the best overall field ever. If you have valid concerns that you feel can make this a better tournament...by all means...use the proper channels and communicate that with your coaches and Athletic Departments to relay those concerns to Coach Sandefer and his Athletic Department. Negative feelings in the heat of the moment simply shared on social media doesn't really solve anything or even make you feel better if you are honest.
Thankful for the support of our Superintendent and School Board as a few were in attendance, our Athletic Dept, Officiating Crew and table workers both days. Our announcers Mike & Mike...Mike Reiser in the Cave and Mike Kensinger in the big boy gym. Coaches, team, parents, fans & MHS Alum for helping to make this another great Al Smith!! Remember I am just a FAN so don't hold my views against those that are working hard everyday for your wrestlers. POSITIVELY PROMOTE THE SPORT.
Steve Sandefer Sr.