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Published February 14, 2012, 07:15 PM

Grand Forks Wrestler, Who Ref Said Bit Opponent, Disqualified From State Tourney

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - One of eastern North Dakota's top high school wrestlers has been preparing all season for the state competition this weekend in Bismarck.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - One of eastern North Dakota's top high school wrestlers has been preparing all season for the state competition this weekend in Bismarck.

But a call by a referee last weekend resulted is his disqualification from the competition. A call his family says was wrong.

Fans, family and teammates of 120-pound, 16-year-old Sean Murphy of Red River High School expected him to place in the top four of the state tournament.

But, he has been disqualified and his dream crushed.

The academic all-state 10th grader, who is on his way to becoming a four-year varsity letterman in wrestling, was disqualified during his first match at Saturday's Regional competition all because of one call.

Official Scott Braun claimed Murphy bit his Fargo-Davies opponent.

"We just want to take the wrong and make it right, that's all we're asking," Sean's dad, Eric Murphy, said.

Coaches and family members say Murphy's opponent cross-faced him, knocking off his mouth guard and ran his arm against Murphy's braces, causing a .3 centimeter scratch.

Murphy's family called in a UND forensic pathologist who says there's no way the mark could be a from a bite.

"None of what he saw is consistent with a bite and we have a letter that we sent to Mark Fetch at NDHS activities association saying that," Murphy said.

Murphy's dad says the problem lies in the fact that there is no appeal process for high school sports in North Dakota.

"There really is no administrative process. Essentially, once a player is ejected whether the official displayed the rules appropriately or inappropriately, at the end of the day, he's out," Murphy said. "This isn't just about Sean, its about a greater picture as well. We can't go back in the state of North Dakota to right the wrong, we keep the kid out of the next competition, and that's just wrong. Things have got to change," Murphy said.

Now, Murphy's father is wrestling with the legalities of high school sports.

"We'll see whether or not Sean will wrestle in Bismarck on Thursday. That's up to perhaps a court to decide," Eric Murphy said.

Sean Murphy was up 8-2 in the third period when he was disqualified.

He's already had a rough year. He wrestled part of the season in a brace for a broken hand.

Red River would have likely finished second instead of third at Regionals if Murphy hadn't been disqualified.

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