Anyone involved in the sport and discipline of wrestling, on whatever sporting level, whether it is at the youth level, High School or a college program, knows there is a certain degree of passion that is fundamental in every single person involved. Regardless of how they come by it, it manifests itself in the same way. Wrestlers, and their supporters develop a unique bond. There is an unflinching drive to pass this legacy on into the future.
It has been four years since the rise of the Bellows Falls-Hartford Coop: A team comprised of a delegation of committed wrestlers, and parents from Hartford Union High School, and Bellows Falls Union High School. In 2013 this team, with only seven wrestlers attained Third Place in the Vermont Station Championships as a Team. The following year after a season full of team tournament wins, and spectacular wrestling the Bellows Falls Hartford Wrestling Team attained second place behind the titan Mount Anthony Union High School. Coach Claude Weyant would receive the supreme accolade as Coach of the Year. It was a high note for wrestling in Bellows Falls. Vermont Wrestler blogged: “… the future looks bright” for the team.
Cavendish’s Todd Swisher would accept the coach’s whistle from Coach Weyant in upon completion of the 2014 season. Coach Swisher is a solid leader and is providing excellent guidance for wrestling programs of Rockingham, at both the High School Level and Youth Level.
Coach Swisher told me it’s really “a numbers game”. The guideline per the administration, to support a Wrestling team at Bellows Falls Union High School is six students. They require that these students be practicing and competing. Only four students attended the first team meeting for the 2016-2017 season. Therefore the administration has dropped the wrestling program at Bellows Falls Union High School for the season. However, Coach Swisher received the good news from the VPA that the four high school wrestlers can complete
Junior Lucas Saunders from Compass School placed 3rd in each of his first two seasons, and he is favorable to be at the top of the podium in the 106 pound class. Sophomore Bradley Frye from Green Mountain Union High School returns after having a short season last year due to an injury. He is looking to working hard to do well in the 113/120 pound class. Senior D.J. Snide from Bellows Falls Union High School vying for a Championship this year in the 195 pound weight class. He is very close to his 100th career win and has placed 5th two years in a row at the Vermont State Championship. Jake Lober also a senior from Bellows Falls Union High School, is eyeing a State title in the 220 pound weight class. Lober finished a strong 4th during last season, and like Snide, he is close to achieving his 100th career win. Lober, Snide, Frye and Saunders, will be competing on Saturday, December 17th in Londonderry, NH.
Looking to the future, Swisher says that key lies with the youth program. “We need to consistently be trying to build our youth numbers into the 30-40 kid range.” Last year the youth program in Bellows Falls doubled in numbers from twelve to twenty four. Swishers plan is to continue the growth trend in the youth program in Rockingham. Eventually there will be wrestlers enough to reinstate the high school program, using the Rockingham youth progam as a feeder program to nurture future wrestlers. That is sincerely the hope.
Check back in with Vermont Wrestler for updates, there is sure to be some great things happening in Wrestling in Bellows Falls.