The world of the World Wrestling Entertainment and its "professional wrestling" cohorts is vastly different than the competitively charged realm of high school grappling. Yet, the two paths crossed with terrifying results in January, when a top Minnesota high school wrestler took a page out of classic WWE scripts by wielding a chair against a fellow wrestler.
According to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which cited fellow Minnesota newspaper Rochester Post-Bulletin, 19-year-old Harold Delancy from Apple Valley (Minn.) High was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct last week. The misdemeanors are related to an incident dating from early January, when Delancy hit a visiting wrestler from Oregon in the head with a chair following a loss in a heavyweight bout at the University Center Rochester Regional Sports Center. The attack came as part of a violent reaction from the Apple Valley heavyweight, who also threw and kicked other chairs at surrounding mats around the gym, broke free from the grip of his coach and kicked a trash can into crowded stands.
Not surprisingly, Delancy's victim -- whose name has not been released to protect his privacy -- suffered a concussion after being hit with the chair. The Post-Bulletin reported that the legs of the chair Delancy swung hit the wrestler directly in the temple, knocking the innocent bystander to the floor and out of consciousness instantly.
The Apple Valley senior star was immediately ejected from the top-flight duals meet, and was immediately dismissed from the team, according to the Pioneer Press, which also reported the senior is due in court Wednesday.
The Eagles, who enter the state wrestling tournament as the five-time Class 3A defending state champions, have counted on key title-bout victories from Delancy in the past, including his 2009 championship bout against Alex Neilsen, who is pictured being pinned face down by Delancy in that bout, above. They'll be without him this time.
Apple Valley's coach, Jim Jackson, told police that Delancy was a student-athlete with special needs, noting that he often struggled to contain his emotions after a loss.
"I regret what transpired at the Clash and I deeply apologize to the victim, his family and team," Jackson told the Pioneer Press. "It is our hope that everything turns out well for them.
"We work with a lot of kids and do our best to help all kids. However, there are numerous kids who need more guidance and support. I thought wrestling was a positive learning environment for Harold. Obviously, it did not work out. I am sorry for that."
While Delancy's emotional outbursts may help explain why the incident occurred, it also raises questions over whether Delancy should have been allowed to compete if he had a track record of failing to respond to disappointment. Given the wrestler's apparent past reactions, one could argue that the Apple Valley coaching staff should have either kept Delancy from competing, or at the very least been better prepared for his outburst.
In the end, Delancy couldn't be contained and an innocent competitor suffered as a result.