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"Twenty-four confirmed cases, and you're shutting down wrestling? Come on," he said. "It's a very unfair situation right now. We are a completely clean and healthy program at Simley High School. We do not have a case of herpes. We've taken every precaution that a team and coaches can take."
Earlier this season, viral outbreaks caused teams from Kasson-Mantorville and Scott West to be suspended for a similar period of time. Both competed at the Clash tournament in Rochester on Dec. 29 and 30, and Anderson said the latest outbreak appears to have begun there.
Clash chairman Steve Patton said officials at that event did a through job of checking wrestlers for skin diseases.
"The wrestling officials inspect every wrestler in their underwear from head to toe, and if there's anything remotely questionable they get passed over to the Mayo Clinic dermatologists, who thoroughly inspect them," Patton said. "If there's any question whatsoever, they're out of the tournament. There's no appeal process. A number of kids were excused from the tournament for that reason."
Tuesday's announcement came as a surprise. Coaches and athletic directors were notified via e-mail at mid-morning, and the MSHSL posted a statement on its website (www.mshsl.org) soon after.
On the Internet, wrestling chat rooms were ablaze with the news. At www.theguillotine.com, more than 180 messages had been posted and viewed by more than 11,000 users within three hours of the announcement. By Tuesday evening, more than 22,000 page views had been made.
Staff writers Josephine Marcotty and Roman Augustoviz contributed to this report.
John Millea firstname.lastname@example.org