December 16, 2005
Albany - Wrestling is not a new sport.
In fact, one could argue running or wrestling was the first sport, and if you were good at one, you didn't have to do the other.
But it hasn't really been too popular in South Georgia until recently.
Deerfield-Windsor started a program last year.
Sherwood Christian Academy has its first team this season.
They say the excitement is growing, but the sport of wrestling is still hard to pin down for some local schools.
Deerfield-Windsor coach Lorin Bradley says, "It's a new sport down here. We just moved down from Pennsylvania, came to Deerfield, and wanted to continue our wrestling tradition. We're learning down here and having a lot of fun."
Sherwood Christian Academy coach Mike Puckett says, "We're in the GISA and from what I've gathered from the other schools it's kind of new and more and more schools are adding it."
Coach Bradley says it wasn't hard to convince Deerfield to start a team.
"I told them I'd volunteer," Bradley said with a laugh. "I showed them what fun they could have, what an exciting sports it is. It's really exhilarating, and it's really caught on."
Knights 7th grader Ben Bradley enjoys the competition.
"It's real fun because I get to beat high schoolers from other schools, and higher grades. It's fun."
Junior Brett Hammock says, "Last year they said wrestling was coming to Deerfield, and I wanted to get in better shape for football, and I thought this would really help."
The coaches say they knew success wouldn't be immediate.
"We had a lot of hard knocks last year. We gained some confidence. We encouraged some more people to come out, and we've had great support from the school," says Bradley.
Puckett says, "Athletes, yes. Wrestlers...we'll get there. It just takes some time."
But they've already converted at least one "Athlete" into a "Wrestler."
Hammock says, "I've actually come to wrestle for the sport of wrestling, rather than just football."