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Wrestling team has to grapple with costs

Posted: January 12, 2014 - 1:06am  |  Updated: January 12, 2014 - 2:45am

Kudos go out to Chris McDaniel and the folks over at Greenbrier High School for playing host to a well-run Region 2-AAAAA Dual Wrestling Tournament on Jan. 4.

A tournament like that has a lot of moving parts and isn’t easy to coordinate, but to an outside observer it looked like everything ran like clockwork. I’m sure it didn’t, but if the lay person can’t tell, then you’ve been successful.

Greenbrier put out three mats – one of which was graciously supplied by Evans High School – and shortly thereafter the eight teams began vying for the top two spots, which would ensure a spot in the state dual tournament.

Just a quick aside about wrestling as a sport. You’ve just got to love it. I love it now a little more than the one year I wasn’t very good at it many moons ago in high school.

It takes physical and mental discipline. It is violent and beautiful all at the same time. Kind of like a brutal ballet.

The tournament began shortly after the 9 a.m. start time and once it got going it just seemed to flow from one match to the next. There were stoppages for sure, but you’ve got to expect a little blood to be spilled in a sport where a major strategy is smashing your opponent’s face into the mat.

Afterward, McDaniel, the Wolfpack’s wrestling coach, said he would love to be able host a region individual tournament one day. With the way things went, I hope he gets his wish.

The big winner from the county was Grovetown, which finished third. Just to be participating at all was a win, since Grovetown almost dropped wrestling and swimming.

Grovetown Principal Penny Jackson noted that both sports had been running from the opening of the school but that participation in both has declined while costs have increased each year.

With the ability to save one sport, athletic director Todd Booker organized a group fundraiser and asked both programs to participate and then the school would evaluate both after a three- to four-week time frame.

The grapplers saved their sport as parents and students embraced the challenge by raising a lot of money and forming a strong parent group to support the coaching staff.

Jeremy Davis took over the program in September and was joined by coaches Nathan White and Robert Maldonado. All three have wrestling backgrounds and Davis says the wrestlers latched onto that.

For now the team wrestles in the math hallway and in a room that doesn’t support a full-size mat. As well as getting the team involved in clubs and out-of-season wrestling, Davis would like to build a facility on the side of the school, but that costs $40,000. Whether that comes to fruition next year is debatable as that’s an awful lot of money, but Davis says they’ll just roll the mats out in the cafeteria each day and roll them up at the end of practice if not. He likes the direction the team is heading with the wrestlers that will be returning next year, and I would imagine the school likes the direction that Davis, White and Maldonado are taking the program.

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