The wrestling program at Temple High School will be expanding to include middle school athletes, Temple ISD announced.
Deryl Clark, the head wrestling coach, received permission from Temple ISD athletic director, Scott Stewart, to start a pilot program at Travis Middle School in 2017.
After producing five state-champions in the USA Wrestling program from that pilot program, Stewart decided to implement a high school program.
Temple High School wrestling now has a total of 37 male and female wrestlers and have placed wildcats in post-season competition each year.
“Unbelievable development in a very short period of time,” Stewart said about the program. “[Wrestling] isn’t as popular in Texas, but some of these programs we’re going up against have been doing it for decades and we’ve been doing it for two and a half years now.”
TISD said by opening up middle school wrestling, Clark takes his first step in exposing athletes to wrestling at an earlier age to feed into the high school program.
“Central Texas would get beat up, wrestling-wise, because you have to compete against Vandegrift and those kind of schools who have feeder programs,” Clark said. “To be that successful, to be in the top ten or twenty, you have to build a youth feeder program. That’s my next goal.”
Wrestling, according to Clark, is a safer sport than people think and a good cross training sport for football players.
Stewart, who is also the head football coach at THS, says he encourages all of his players to play another sport in the offseason and agrees that wrestling is a good option.
“As far as power angles and leverage, I think (wrestling) could be invaluable,” Stewart said.
TISD said 13 wrestlers, four girls and nine boys, from Temple have qualified for district competition for the 2021 season and will compete in Hutto April 3-8.
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