Wrestling at Fair Grove: Is it a Possibility?
October 28, 2020
As of the 2020-2021 school year, Fair Grove High School only has one winter sport: basketball. High schools across America offer wrestling as another option during the winter, so why doesn’t Fair Grove have a wrestling program?
The reasoning behind this isn’t a lack of student interest. Kyle Fritts, a junior on the football team, commented, “I would 100% compete in a wrestling program if our school provided it. It would definitely benefit me in the category of football. Not only does hand placement and strength excel with wrestling, but just being able to be flexible and more agile would hugely benefit me. It also gives athletes another sport to play during high school. It would definitely benefit everyone who tried it.”
Students aren’t the only ones who would be interested in a wrestling program. Head Football Coach, Bill Voorhis, stated, “I would love Fair Grove to be able to at some point have wrestling. I believe it is a great sport and it would be another way for students to get involved with a program at school who otherwise might not play any sports or be in any clubs.”
Even though there is support behind the idea of a wrestling program, the execution of this wouldn’t be an easy endeavor, especially given the current time period. “I believe any sport or activity that can be added to our district is always beneficial. However, timing is always key to ensure the startup success of a program. Due to the number of activities and sports our district currently offers and the current fiscal strains our district is currently seeing, now is not a good time for our district to add a new sport or activity,” said Christian Overstreet, the Fair Grove Athletic Director, “We are currently seeing some of the most drastic cuts to our state budget that we have ever seen due to the pandemic. Adding a sport or activity and other expenses to our budget is not the smart thing to do right now.”
COVID-19 isn’t the only thing stopping wrestling from happening, though. Overstreet explained, “It is also important to note that there is not a youth wrestling program in our community. Like all other sports and activities, it is vital for the overall success of a program to have athletes at the lower-levels learning and becoming engaged in the sport. Also, there are no other schools around that are comparable in size who have wrestling. This makes it extremely difficult to schedule and the amount of travel for athletes, parents, students, etc. can become overwhelming.”
Finances are also a large factor to consider when it comes to adding a new sport. Overstreet described, “When determining the startup cost and the cost of maintaining the program, the following are considered: mats, coaches stipends for head and assistant (dependent upon how long coaches have been in the district), cleaning supplies for mats (these have gone up considerably due to COVID), transportation, uniforms, payment to officials, home event worker payments, and addition to the athletics budget for equipment. Approximately, you are looking at anywhere from $50-$60k.”
Even though it doesn’t seem like it will occur anytime soon, there is always the possibility of the addition of the sport in the future. Voorhis concluded, “I think all of the coaches and administrators here would support any sports that our kids play. We have a good culture here and I think everyone supports each other no matter the season or sport.”