Arkadelphia Public School District Superintendent Dr. Donnie Whitten and Athletic Director Chris Babb have announced that Arkadelphia will field a wrestling team beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
One of the newest sports sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association, wrestling is growing in popularity among Arkansas High Schools and Arkadelphia will join the ranks of those schools that compete in the sport.
“We’re excited to provide a new avenue for some of our students who may not be involved in other activities and we welcome those who aren’t familiar with wrestling but may be interested in the sport,’ said Babb. “ We have several of our students who have been involved with competitive wrestling in town in youth age groups and we’re glad to be able to give them an opportunity to compete in the sport as Badgers.
“With OBU locally, and other universities across the state adding the sport, we hope to be able to provide another opportunity for growth and competition for our students who choose to participate.”
Whitten noted the increasing popularity of the sport as well as the assistance from the Arkansas Wrestling Association in helping grow the sport in the state of Arkansas.
“We’re thankful to Greg Hatcher and the Arkansas Wrestling Association for their assistance in helping us get this program off of the ground,” said Whitten. “Mr. Hatcher and the AWA see the benefit of high school sports and what it can provide for our young people as they grow up, particularly when it comes to participating in the sport of wrestling.”
Helping lead the charge to begin the program at AHS was Badger head football coach J.R. Eldridge, who has seen the benefits of wrestling first-hand recently. Eldridge and newly-hired football assistant coach Casey Moreland will be coaching the wrestling team
“I’m glad to be adding the sport for our students at AHS,” said Eldridge. “My youngest son just began with the local youth wrestling program within the last year and I think it will be a big plus for our students who may not be involved in a sport right now, or for students who are in one sport, but may be
looking to be involved in something else. Participating in more than two sports can be mutually beneficial, and that’s true for wrestling as well.”
The wrestling season for the Arkansas Activities Association runs from December through February with the state championships being held in February. Details about signing up for the wrestling team at AHS will be announced when more details are finalized.