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Why doesn’t New Hanover County Schools have middle school wrestling?

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Hoggard's Philipe Frederick moves to the semifinals by beating Ashley's Ethan Tello 12-1 during the 11th Annual Veterans Cup Wrestling Tournament in January 2011 at Ashley High School. (StarNews file photo)

New Hanover County Schools has never had wrestling at the middle school level – or at least not in the past 45 years.

According to longtime county athletic director Joe Miller, who retired in 2009 after 42 years in the school system, there never was middle school wrestling during his tenure. The sport is not currently offered at the middle school level either.

The reason wrestling was never added, according to Miller and other school officials, is financial. Specifically, the high cost of wrestling materials. Full-size wrestling mats of the type a school needs can cost thousands of dollars, and have to be replaced periodically. While that’s not a whole lot of money for one school, multiplying the sports costs out to all eight middle schools makes the bill increase dramatically.

Current county athletic directors point out that middle school sports in New Hanover County remain much more limited than those at the high school level. New Hanover County middle schools offer only 10 sports, divided between nine-week grading periods: Boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, football, baseball, softball and volleyball. At the high-school level, New Hanover County offers 23 different sports.

Wrestling also proves to be a difficult sport to add or even maintain because of federal law. Title IX requires equal participation opportunities for all students regardless of gender, but that typically translates into participation numbers. Adding wrestling (typically an all-male sport) throws the Title IX participation out of balance, and so a predominately female sport must be added as well.

User-contributed question by:
Robert Brian Mack

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One Response to “ Why doesn’t New Hanover County Schools have middle school wrestling?”

  1. On June 13, 2012 at 7:00 am Robert Mack wrote:

    How does Cumberland County (Fayetteville) and the Craven County Schools (New Bern) have wrestling in middle schools?
    What did they do to satisfy title 9?
    A wrestling mat can be bought refurbished, and mat’s can last over 20 years- ask Hoggard and Laney, how long they had their original mats.
    A proven fact is that over half of todays NFL lineman, had wrestling experience in their career. Look at John Cooper (Hoggard 2007), a current starter at offensive line, for UNC.
    We are severely handicapping the high school wrestling coaches in NH County without feeder programs- just look at NHHS, fielding half teams, the last several years.
    Wrestling could actually help pay for itself with in school marketing and concession sales, etc.
    I remember in 1975, Hoggard having a pep rally and wrestling matches in front of packed gym of students at organized event at end of school day- my soph. year.
    If you look at how popular wrestling is at the high schools in Fayetteville and New Bern, you will see that it comes from having feeder programs at the middle schools- not just AAU or YMCA wrestling, which cannot take the place of organized middle school wrestling since those programs can’t talk to students (like a coach could who would be at school everyday, talking to masses of students).
    In summary, the Brunswick County schools now have middle school wrestling, and look how good SBHS has been the last several years since thier programs have been in place- how can they put it in and NH County not? Rob Mack Hoggard 77

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