By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –
“Wrestling saves kids,” said East Hardy Early Middle School Principal Lance Moran.
Offering to pay for uniforms and equipment, representatives from the East Hardy Youth Mat Club, a traditional wrestling organization, asked the Hardy County Board of Education to consider adding wrestling to the East Hardy High School sports offerings.
The Board met on Monday, April 21 at East Hardy Early Middle School.
Moran, a former wrestling coach, and others, spoke in favor of starting a wrestling program at EHHS.
“We have six students who can’t go any farther,” said Steve Miller, vice president of EHYMC.
The EHYMC was started as an offshoot of the Moorefield Youth Wrestling League, Miller said. “Roughly 40 youth have participated in our program,” he said.
Miller said the students would have no home matches until the auxiliary gym is finished at EHHS. An auxiliary gym is part of the construction project at the school.
“We can practice at the Wardensville gym,” he said. “The kids ride the bus there now.”
Miller said the biggest expense for the program is a mat and the travel to matches. The mat costs between $2,000 and $6,000.
“We already have a mat and the kids buy their own shoes and headgear,” he said. “We will offer to buy the singlets (uniform) for the wrestlers.”
Hardy County Superintendent Barbara Whitecotton said the cost of a coach would be $4,500. “So you would need $7,500 to start, plus mileage,” she said.
Miller said wrestling is open to all students. “We’ve seen blind kids, deaf kids, kids with missing limbs,” he said. “It is extremely helpful for kids with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It helps them focus.”