Any sport with a referee will always have a moment where a controversial call angers the crowd, and the Walsh Jesuit Ironman — arguably the nation’s best high school wrestling tournament — was no exception Saturday afternoon in a semifinal bout involving 119-pound state champions Ty Mitch of Aurora and Monroeville junior Hunter Stieber.
Mitch, a senior bound for Virginia Tech, had a 3-2 lead late in the match against Stieber, the No. 1 rated 119 in the nation. With 20 seconds left, Stieber took Mitch down in a scramble by throwing in a cross-body ride.
What happened after that put referee John Butch — a Pennsylvania official who lives in Youngstown — in a tough spot. Mitch appeared to have a reversal and near fall in the waning seconds, but was awarded no points. That brought boos from the overflow crowd and angered veteran Aurora coach Dick Bliss.
“I’ll say this . . . Hunter told me he thought he lost the match,” said Jeff Stieber, Hunter’s father.
So why no call from Butch?
Final Brackets here: ironman