Palisade seniors Barnes, Wagler withdrawn from state competition

DENVER — Officials are still not releasing much information about why two Palisade High School wrestlers were withdrawn from competition prior to Thursday’s first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Pepsi Center.

Tanner Barnes and Aaron Wagler, both seniors, were not allowed to compete after a decision Thursday by School District 51 and Palisade High School officials just prior to the start of the tournament.

Officials from both the school district and the high school would not comment Friday on why the wrestlers were withdrawn from competition.

“I can’t disclose any information confirming discipline issues,” District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain said.

KTMM radio reported Friday morning that the two took air guns on the trip to Denver, but several School District 51 officials would not confirm that report.

School district spokesman Jeff Kirtland said he could not comment on the reason.

“We cannot discuss the issues of what that involved,” he said, citing a district policy of not discussing discipline issues publicly.

Kirtland did say the alleged incident did not occur on school grounds. Barnes and Wagler both made the trip to Denver with the team on Wednesday.

Kirtland said the disciplinary action was not solely restricted to athletic participation.

“Part of that (action) expands beyond athletics,” said Kirtland, who confirmed that suspension from school for a short time was part of the action agreed upon by the district and the school.

Palisade Principal Matt Diers would not comment on what prompted the punishment of the wrestlers.

“It was a violation of school board policy that Palisade High School had to act on,” Diers said.

A phone message left Friday by The Daily Sentinel at Barnes’ home was not returned.

Palisade Athletic Director Mike Krueger was in Denver to attend the state tournament when the issue came to light Thursday afternoon, as was Cain.

“I was here and worked through the situation with Paul and Matt Diers,” Krueger said. He also was in contact with the District 51 administrative office during the afternoon and evening.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with as an AD,” Krueger said. “Without question, for everybody involved, it’s sad.”


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