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Wrestling Team Competes at First Competition

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Sophomore Jack Pannagl gets tackled to the ground at  a wrestling practice.

Sophomore Jack Pannagl gets tackled to the ground at a wrestling practice.

Taken by Elizabeth Freeman

Taken by Elizabeth Freeman

Sophomore Jack Pannagl gets tackled to the ground at a wrestling practice.

Elizabeth Freeman, Staff Writer

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A lengthy table occupies the spacious room filled with chairs. A black tablecloth draped across it provides a formal setting for the situation. Along one side of this long table, a board of directors sit in comfy chairs to discuss current issues of the school. Sophomore Bradley Green prepares to present the newest issue in front of the school board. The success of his presentation would result in the formation of a wrestling team.

“Wrestling has given students another way to work out their frustrations with school,” Green said. “Wrestling has taught me how to be mentally tough.”

Bradley did not come up with the idea of having wrestling on the highschool level himself, but he did help to push the issue once more.

“The idea was originally pushed and brought to the board by Tala and Kaya Arthur’s dad, Drew several years ago,” wrestling sponsor Mr. Herring. “[Like Bradley,] Drew also spoke at a board meeting.  We were not told no at that time but it never went anywhere.  Then last year the issue was brought back up by the Tyler Wrestling Club and Rick Green (Bradley’s dad).”

Through Bradley’s act, students have been impacted.

“He earned a lot of respect from me,” sophomore Demi Leblanc said. “Especially during practices, he helps out a lot by being like a dummy for the coaches to demonstrate on what to do. He’s a really good sport and a really good wrestler.”

Having wrestling in high school gives a chance for students, who participate in junior high wrestling, to continue to excel and perhaps eventually earn scholarships for college.

“As it is, 14 or a students freshman year is the last year that a wrestler can compete at USA Wrestling Club tournaments for youth,” Herring said. “They age out after that and cannot wrestle anymore if it is not available in their high school.  If there is an interest and the school really is about reaching all the kids that it can, then I don’t understand why any school would not have the sport. If someone weighs 110 lbs as a junior or senior, they are not going to be a great football or basketball player.  But they can be a great wrestler.”

Many students who have never done wrestling as a sport before, have decided to join this year because of Bradley’s petition to add wrestling to the school.

“I did it because I’ve done jiu-jitsu and a little bit of wrestling before, but never in the highschool level,” junior Tala Arthur said. “It was terrifying to go into my first match. I was nervous and I didn’t know how I would do. I was really surprised when I won my first match and they said I was going to the semi-finals. I was really proud that I got second place in my division and I’m glad that I did it.”

Even with the short period of time that wrestling has been offered at the highschool level, students have fought for top ranking in their division.

“For wrestling I got exactly what I expected,” junior Koby Moulton said. “I started because I thought it would be fun. After three weeks of practice, I have managed to get a second place win in a tournament. Mr. Green and Mr. Joe have been excellent teachers. I really couldn’t have asked for more.”

Wrestling is not yet considered an official UIL sport. However, the more it succeeds as a whole, the sooner it can develop. A meeting will be held later in the year to discuss whether  wrestling will officially be a UIL sport.

We have been told that whether or not wrestling becomes a UIL sport at the high school depends on Dr Campbell and Coach Copeland,” Mr. Herring said. “If they believe that the sport is sustainable here at the high school, then they will pass that along to Dr Moran.  He will then make his recommendation to the board and they will vote on it.  I don’t believe that the board is against it.  They will probably support whatever the administration feels is best.”

 

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