Judge’s ruling keeps top-ranked wrestler from competition

KALISPELL (AP) — A Flathead High School wrestler won’t compete in an upcoming state tournament after a judge upheld a Montana High School Association ruling that deemed him ineligible for the 138-pound weight class.

The Daily Inter Lake reports the judge delivered his ruling Tuesday in the case of sophomore Payton Hume, Montana’s top-ranked 138-pound Class AA wrestler.

Payton’s father had filed a lawsuit claiming the school wrongly advised his son that he was able to compete in Friday’s tournament at 138 pounds, although records showed he had competed in the 145-pound weight class for most of his events.

Under the state’s so-called 50 percent rule, the association found Payton only eligible for the higher weight class.

Coach Rich Vasquez admitted in court the school failed to properly interpret the eligibility rule.

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