Student aims to start wrestling team

%3Cstrong%3EIllustration+by+Eriana+Ruiz%3C%2Fstrong%3E+If+Brookhaven+can+start+a+wrestling+program%2C+the+Bears+and+Richland+College+will+be+the+only+two+community+college+wrestling+programs+in+the+state.

Illustration by Eriana Ruiz If Brookhaven can start a wrestling program, the Bears and Richland College will be the only two community college wrestling programs in the state.

Andre Hampton, Copy Editor/Fact Checker

Two highly trained athletes pitting their strength and technique against each other in one of the oldest known sports in sports history still excites crowds and gives student-athletes an opportunity to gain scholarships for college and possibly even compete in the Olympics. 

Competitive wrestling is a common sport in high schools and colleges around the U.S. According to scholarshipstats.com, almost 400,000 student athletes participated in the sport during the 2018-2019 season. 

And according to Journal News, schools benefit from the revenue made through concession stands and ticket sales. 

Brookhaven College may have the opportunity to create its own wrestling program in the near future. A Brookhaven student who works in the weight room, Mark “Cutter” Brown, said he has made several inquiries and has done all he can at this point to start a wrestling program at Brookhaven.

The only barrier impeding the wrestling program is funding, Brown said. “I’ve been working with Brookhaven to see who is going to help me to sponsor the program.” Brookhaven has no budget to fund the wrestling program so Brown has been thinking of possible solutions to raise funds.

Richland wrestling coach, Bill Neal, said Richland College is the only two-year college in the state of Texas with a wrestling team.

Neal has been speaking with Brown and giving him advice for building the wrestling program. “We get a community college kid who’s working, going to school, and has a social life,” Neal said. 

“If there’s time left then they want to wrestle [and] I’m lucky if I keep them two years.” 

Neal said competing against four year colleges is difficult because the four-year college’s a athletes often have scholarships while tw-year college students who sometimes work jobs and pick up wrestling as a hobby. 

Neal said he has spent his own money to support the wrestling program and the level of support from the high schools has not been as promising as expected.

Brown, Brookhaven’s potential coach, remains optimistic, and will continue to try to build a Bears wrestling program. 

Brown said, “If I can get some people to come three or four days a week, at least a couple days a week, we can get something going.”

Brookhaven athletic director Kevin Hurst said the athletic department will not sponsor a wrestling program because women’s basketball and men’s soccer are already next on the list. 

He said those new programs are at least a few years away from being started, and he was adamant about not being able to start a wrestling program, at least until after men’s soccer and women’s basketball are established.

“It would have to go through clubs or the Office of Student Life,” Hurst said.  Hurst also said he is not sure who is sponsoring a wrestling program or how much progress has been made. Richland’s wrestling program is not funded by their athletic department.

 In theory, it is still possible for Brookhaven to create a wrestling program through the Office of Student Life.