MIDVALE — Two students were denied hardship waivers, while a third was granted athletic eligibility by a hearing panel representing the Utah High School Activities Association Thursday morning.
Jacob Armstrong, a ninth grader, was ruled eligible to play sports at Salem Hills. Armstrong didn't appear at the hearing, but his parents said they weren't aware that attending American Leadership Academy, a charter school, as a ninth grader established his eligibility as a high school athlete with ALA.
Because the public high schools in the Nebo School District are grades 10 through 12, the Armstrongs believed he was in ALA's junior high. He transferred to a public middle school after ALA's high school principal was fired earlier this fall and he tried out for Salem Hills' wrestling team. ALA is a 2A school, while Salem Hills is a 4A school.
The Armstrong family lives in the Salem Hills boundaries and their two older children went to ALA through ninth grade and then transferred to Salem Hills as sophomores. But with the rule change, Jacob got caught in a perplexing situation, which is why the panel ruled that the junior high and high school situation at ALA was confusing and therefore they granted him eligibility. Armstrong is a varsity wrestler for the Sky Hawks.
Two other student athletes were not granted eligibility.
Junior Malia Faingaa transferred to AMES, a charter school housed in Cottonwood High, from Hunter High this school year in an effort to better prepare herself for college. The panel did not find a hardship in the transfer and therefore eligibility was denied. She's a volleyball and basketball player.
Junior Madison Davis transferred from Riverton to Juan Diego and was also denied a hardship waiver. Her mother said she transferred to the private school to better prepare her for college, but again, the panel did not find that a hardship situation and she will be ineligible for softball this spring.