Prep Wrestling

Wheeler starts wrestling program

2012-05-12T19:00:00Z 2012-05-13T04:43:04Z Wheeler starts wrestling programBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

The mats, singlets and headgear are coming to Wheeler.

The high school will start a wrestling program next school year with plans for the sport to go varsity in 2013-14.

"I'm really pleased that we're able to add what I feel is the final component to our athletic program," Wheeler Athletic Director Randy Stelter said. "I felt it was the one thing that was missing to complete the cycle."

Stelter had already gone to the Union Township School Board several times with a proposal for wrestling before it gave a contingency approval in November. The board's OK came with the caveat that they could generate the funds to purchase the necessities to start the program.

"Back about 2000, when I got here, wrestling was one of the things I wanted to get going, but there were always a number of factors that seemed to keep us from getting the final project done," Stelter said. "We were getting football going. We had no facility. There was the cost. The money just wasn't there."

With the help of Marc Buehler, Mike Roe and Dan Turpin, Stelter was able to raise the money for the purchase of mats, scales and calipers. Practices will be held in the fieldhouse with meets in the gym.

"Now all we need is a coach," said Stelter, who is taking applications for the position.

Wheeler will become the seventh school in the Greater South Shore Conference to have wrestling, joining Bishop Noll, Calumet, Lake Station, North Newton, River Forest and Whiting.

"I brought it up at the last couple AD's meetings," Stelter said. "We're going to get in a JV tournament with Calumet and the other schools were definitely interested. I've checked with DAC and NCC schools to see if they've got freshmen, sophomores and juniors who need time on the mat. We'll be happy to accommodate. We've got a couple eighth-graders coming up and we've asked the IHSAA if they can be entered in the sectional."

The addition of wrestling gives Wheeler, a Class 2A school, 19 of the 20 sports sanctioned by the IHSAA. It also offers boys bowling and boys volleyball.

"When I got here, we had 14 sports. Now we're up to 22," Stelter said. "We're very proud of what we've been able to bring to the community."

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