Cassville High School mulls adding wrestling

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Parents request district to open opportunities for athletes

Wildcats Nation could soon have another winter sport to cheer if a group of parents have their request granted by the Cassville School District.

This is not the first time that a parent group has approached the district with a wrestling proposal.

According to Cassville Superintendent Richard Asbill, two years ago, former Athletic Director David Large negotiated a compromise with a group seeking to add wrestling.

"What David and this district suggested was that the group form a youth program to help build interest," Asbill said. "I've seen the growth and enthusiasm and we are seeing positive results from their efforts."

Troy Thompson, who helped form the Wildcat Takedown Club, the youth wrestling club based in Cassville two years ago, submitted a written request for the district this month to add the program to the school's sports offering.

"We have established a successful youth wrestling program in Cassville," Thompson said in the request. "We have a concern that some of our middle school- and junior high-aged kids that wrestled this year will not have the opportunity to wrestle in high school. Therefore, we would like to formally request the consideration to add the sport of wrestling to the Cassville School System."

Thompson prepped at Webb City and was a state finalist for the Cardinal wrestling program.

He received a scholarship to wrestle at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kan.

"I believe that wrestling opens up many more opportunities for our athletes," Thompson said. "The popularity of the sport and this area being so completive colleges recruit this area really well."

Thompson in just two years, along with other dedicated parents, have grown the grassroots youth program that encompasses 35 wrestlers from ages 5-14.

"We go to youth events in Neosho, Monett and Joplin and there are 500 to 600 kids there," Thompson said. "We want to bring a tournament like that to Cassville. This year alone, we qualified 14 kids to the state tournament. That is great progress."

Thompson request may be gaining traction.

Asbill said an informational meeting was slated between the parents, Assistant Principal Coy Dalton and Principal Jeff Swadley, who share athletic director responsibilities while the position is vacant until June.

"Coy and Jeff will get additional information as far as cost associated with the addition," Asbill said. "The goal is to have a recommendation for the [school] board to consider for the May or June meeting."

According to Thompson, the startup cost for the school would be around $10,000.

Asbill was not comfortable giving a timetable for when the new program could be added, if approved. The Wildcats would join Monett, Seneca, McDonald County and Carl Junction as the only Big 8 districts to offer the sport.

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