The soccer season is over for a group of young players in Sutton, Massachusetts, even as the high school girls' varsity team keeps marching toward a state title.
"We deserve to make it to the end games," said Sutton soccer player Ava Magnuson. "Our team is devastated. We're devastated."
This season, four eighth graders have been on the varsity squad because of a waiver from Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. But when Sutton eliminated Georgetown in tournament play this week, Georgetown filed a complaint, saying the younger players shouldn't have been eligible — including 13-year-old Magnuson, who scored two goals in the game.
"The approval was done in error and the interpretation was done in error," said Tara Bennett of the MIAA.
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She says the waiver for the girls to play varsity was granted at the district level and on a temporary basis.
The MIAA's statewide office only learned of the situation following the Georgetown complaint, ultimately deciding the temporary wavier was no longer appropriate, Bennett said.
The team, school and parents are upset the girls will miss the rest of the season. They don't think it's fair, given the effort all of them have made.
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"As a mother, a father, to watch your child work so hard and then be crushed and not be able to give them a reason why," said soccer parent Tanya Magnuson.
Tournament play resumes for Sutton this weekend without the eighth graders. For Georgetown, the season is over.