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School bars heroic teen wrestler from competition, citing administrative issue

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Less than 48 hours after fending off a brutal home invasion, Modesto (Calif.) Central Catholic High freshman wrestler Cristian Dominguez defeated his first opponent with a shotgun pellet reportedly still lodged in his arm. An hour before he was set to grapple for a state tournament bid again, school administrators forfeited his match and eliminated him from the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet.

While section officials cleared Dominguez for competition, CCHS athletic director Billy Hylla drove to the meet and disqualified him because he did not have a doctor's note, according to The Modesto Bee. However, the boy's father, David Dominguez, who was shot in the back as he and his son fended off four armed home invaders, claims Hylla had previously assured him Cristian was "good to go" for the meet.

On Feb. 26, four men barged into the Dominguez home -- demanding "your Beats, your Jordans and your jewelry" -- and held the family at gunpoint, per a Modesto Bee report. When one assailant grabbed Cristian's mother, he and his father reportedly fought back, allowing his mom and 11-year-old brother to escape. The suspects allegedly fled the scene while father and son were treated at separate hospitals.

Hours later, Cristian reportedly received a medical release from the facility and immediately rushed to his father's side. Among his first words to his dad, according to the paper: "I'm going to wrestle."

The following day, he reportedly participated in Central Catholic's practice, and then traveled with his coach to the Masters Meet roughly 36 hours after the attack. Meanwhile, his father told the paper he received repeated assurances from the AD his son could compete after reading him a portion of Cristian's hospital clearance letter. A Sac-Joaquin Section official discussed the issue with Hylla on the eve of the meet, according to the report, and he was allowed to wrestle in the first round.

However, Hylla arrived between Cristian's first-round win and his next scheduled match to prevent the boy from competing for a state tournament bid, according to The Bee. Tournament officials speculated that Central Catholic feared a hospital clearance was not the same as a doctor's note in terms of the school's liability. Of course, that would have been nice to know before he had already wrestled.

A week after the controversy, a devastated Dominguez reportedly had not returned to school. He participated in the State of California Wrestling Alliance for the Youth Grade State Championships unattached this past weekend and captured an individual state title in the freshman division.

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