WEST JEFFERSON — It’s that time of year for the young wrestling stars of the future to hit the mats with the Ashe County Mat Monsters.
The first two Mat Monster practices of 2016 will be on Nov. 1-2 at Ashe County High School from 6-8 p.m. On Nov. 3, practice will be at Ashe County Middle School from 6-8 p.m. before returning back to the high school Nov. 7-10 from 6-8 p.m.
Practices are open to those youngsters that were Mat Monsters in the past and also to those that think wrestling is a sport they would like to try.
While the Mat Monster club also features middle school and high school aged wrestlers, these practices are designed for the elementary aged kids to prepare them for the upcoming season in the High Country Youth Wrestling League. The wrestlers from Ashe County Middle School and Ashe County High School will start competing after their respective seasons end early in 2017.
Mat Monster coach Alex Wray has worked hard to build the wrestling program for the younger athletes in the area and has traveled to other wrestling camps to see how they do things so he can improve on what he and the other coaches teach here.
“The past two summers I’ve been working camps with national champions. My thing is I wanted to get better as a coach, sometimes you’ve got to be humbled and learn something from people that know more than you,” said Wray.
Coach Wray recently traveled to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) event, and when he told a man there where he was from, the first thing that the man asked Wray was if he had ever heard about the Mat Monsters wrestling team.
“It’s going to be a great year. Everybody knows about us now,” said Wray.
Once the High Country Youth Wrestling League season ends, Coach Wray hopes that those kids will continue on with the Mat Monsters to compete in bigger state tournaments and at the same time, work hard and improve during each practice and match.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.