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|High School wrestling has exciting start with state championships in Arkansas|
By USA Wrestling State Services
BENTONVILLE, Arkansas - Greg Hatcher and Don Schuler had a vision of bringing wrestling to Arkansas high schools. These two leaders, who had a background in wrestling from other states, wanted to bring their sport to the youth of Arkansas, which does not sponsor wrestling on the high school level.
On Saturday, March 17th, upon the completion of the inaugural high school state tournament, Hatcher and Schuler knew that their vision had come to fruition.
Hatcher, an insurance agent in Little Rock, vowed to donate mats to the first 20 high schools to add a wrestling team. Because of his donations and work, 19 schools were able to field a wrestling team this season.
"Because of the work of Greg Hatcher and Don Schuler, and many others in the state of Arkansas, high school wrestlers from around the state were able to compete in their own state high school tournament," said Tony Black of USA Wrestling.
"The development of amateur wrestling programs is a primary focus of USA Wrestling. Working with Greg, Don, and others in Arkansas is fulfilling a key mission of USA Wrestling and the goals of several individuals in Arkansas. USA Wrestling is hopeful that the success of this inaugural wrestling season and state tournament will allow for the sport to become officially sanctioned by the Arkansas Athletic Association by next season," he said.
In 2007, USA Wrestling membership in Arkansas has nearly tripled, with new clubs and high school teams joining the family. The new state tournament should help fuel continued growth for wrestling in the state.
Sixteen teams competed at the state championships, with host school Bentonville claiming the team title. Crowning seven individuals champions allowed the Tigers to run away with the team championship. Runner-up Fayetteville crowned five champions, with Little Rock Catholic and Little Rock Central each crowing one champion.
Sean Sullivan, one of Bentonville's seven champions, claimed Arkansas' first high school state title with his pin in the finals at 103 pounds.
Another Bentonville wrestler, Blake McCollum, was involved the most exciting match of the finals against Springdale's Tyler Edwards. Their match at 160 pounds came down to the final seconds. Though Edwards led early in the match, McCollum was able to come back for the 10-9 victory.
The 2007 Arkansas State Wrestling Championship was hosted by Bentonville High School. Former University of Arkansas Razorback football star, Tony Cherico, served as the tournament director and Bentonville Athletic Director Lauren West made sure it was a first class event for wrestlers, spectators, and visitors.
The next big date on the calendar for wrestlers and fans in Arkansas is June 6th, when the AWA goes before the Arkansas Athletic Association in an attempt to have wrestling sanctioned as an official high school sport in Arkansas.
Arkansas is one of two states to not have high school wrestling be an officially sanctioned sport, and with the recent development of high school wrestling in Mississippi, it appears as though all 50 states may soon have high school wrestling.
For more information on Arkansas wrestling, go to:
2006 ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. Bentonville 298.5
2. Fayetteville 193.5
3. Little Rock Catholic 146.5
4. Mountain Home 119
5. Springdale 87
6. Russellville 83.5
7. Pulaski Academy 79
8. Little Rock Central 65
9. Des Arc 59
10. Bismarck 58
11. Springdale Har-Ber 51
12. Arkansas School for the Blind 37
13. Central Arkansas Christian 34
13. Barton 34
15. Little Rock Hall 27
16. Gentry 14
1st - Sean Sullivan, Bentonville
2nd - Nolan Moyer, Fayetteville
3rd - Antonio Guerrero, Springdale Har-Ber
1st - Josh Segovia, Little Rock Catholic
2nd - Lucas Frazee, Russellville
3rd - Jeremy Pilcher, Bismarck
1st - Brandon McCuien, Little Rock Central
2nd - Adrian Hubbard, Mountain Home
3rd - Devin Johnson, Bentonville
1st - Cappy Leaf, Fayetteville
2nd - Adam Irons, Bentonville
3rd - Steven Gorgas, Little Rock Catholic
1st - Markies Eubanks, Fayetteville
2nd - Kile Coatney, Bentonville
3rd - Josh Koenen, Mountain Home
1st - Andre Knox, Fayetteville
2nd - Colton Steele, Bentonville
3rd - Jimmy Corder, Gentry
1st - Mark Canoy, Fayetteville
2nd - Bruce Bauer, Bentonville
3rd - Nick Holloway, Des Arc
1st - Michael Gordon, Fayetteville
2nd - Mario Ramos, Bentonville
3rd - Allen Reed, Little Rock Catholic
1st - Cody Conklin, Bentonville
2nd - Odell Lee, Arkansas School for the Blind
3rd - Chris Rabe, Springdale Har-Ber
1st - Blake McCollum, Bentonville
2nd - Tyler Edwards, Springdale
3rd - Aaron Butler, Little Rock Central
1st - Torrey Garrison, Bentonville
2nd - William Hughes, Russellville
3rd - John Bautista, Springdale
1st - Zeid Khalaf, Bentonville
2nd - Nick Rynders, Central Arkansas Christian
3rd - Cody Loftis, Mountain Home
1st - Nick Stewart, Bentonville
2nd - Tyler Lawrence, Pulaski Academy
3rd - Kareem Matthews, Barton
1st - Josh Anderson, Bentonville
2nd - Kelvin Walker, Des Arc
3rd - Coty Cox, Mountain Home