Graceville brings back wrestling program after 80 years away from the mat

Local Sports

GRACEVILLE, Fla. (WMBB)– Student-athletes at Graceville High School now have a chance to take the mat as a wrestler for the Tigers. It has been 80 years since the school has offered the sport.

Graceville head wrestling and football coach Randy McKinnie said he wanted to offer a sport for students that don’t play football and basketball.

“We got two new kids that don’t play football and don’t play any other sports, so we got them involved, we want to get all the kids involved in some type of activity,” McKinnie said.

McKinnie’s desire to help students feel like they are apart of the school they attend has turned into a new passion for the team’s members.

“I like doing it it’s just really nothing like you’ve ever done before like it’s nothing compared to any sports, so just any part of it is a really good time,” Graceville wrestler Lamar Sowell said.

The team of four along with their coaches have continued to put in work at practice after practice. They’ve been learning as much as they can as quickly as possible, not afraid to compete with more experience wrestlers and larger teams.

“Whatever we start, we are gonna finish, that’s the type of guys that we got in Graceville, so it wasn’t hard to get them to come back… and we’re going to get better and better as we go,” McKinnie said.

The team hit a big milestone at the Arnold IBT on Saturday as senior Colby Merrit picked up the program’s first win. He was also the first to earn a medal, placing fourth in the heavyweight class.

The Tigers hope to double the size of their team next season.

“Getting this whole team started is really great and we just want it to get as big as it can be,” Sowell said.

Graceville plans to compete in a couple of more events to finish off the regular season this month. McKinnie said he is grateful for all of the area wrestling coaches who have helped him this season.

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