After 30 years, Stevensville High School is bringing pack their wrestling program thanks to pressure and support from the local community. First year head coach Ted Adams said having a Yellowjacket wrestling squad will be great for the students and the community.
"There's still that population of kids that are definitely never going to be a basketball player, whether it's being vertically challenged or otherwise. It's just a unique personality that is drawn to wrestling."
This past summer the school board passed the motion to reinstate the wrestling team. Donations have allowed the squad necessary equipment to start up the program, although the Yellowjackets have to practice inside the cafeteria for now.
"Obviously we are building for the future, we would like to be a team that could challenge some of the better teams in the Bitterroot maybe within a year or two," explained Adams.
This winter's team has about 20 athletes and is led by four seniors. Despite most of the guys having little to no experience, they still have high expectations.
"Oh are excitement level is high, I mean really high. It's just a great experience, the better we do the more people we get next year," said senior wrestler Austin Krone.
"I'm looking forward to just getting out there and showing other schools that were not just a new school here, we're something to worry about," sophomore Shawn Cassidy added.
"We just love to see this guys be a part of hopefully what is going to be a legacy program where they have a part in being the new Stevensville wrestling," told us.
In the past Stevensville kids have transferred elsewhere to pursue high school wrestling. Now the school can retain those student athletes and can expect the team to grow quickly in numbers and confidence .
"These kids alone have tons of excitement, tons of enthusiasm, somebody has a big heart you can't teach that. We're just thrilled to have the type of kids we have in here. They don't question anything, they just jump right in and work real hard," Adams said.
"I'm really excited, it's kind of historic. It's been 30 years, I mean it's a great experience for a lot of people. It helps actually a lot of people for football too. I don't know, it's kind of emotional also," Krone explained.
Stevensville's new team hits the mats this weekend for the Butte Central mixer and Hamilton invitational.