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Valencia High adds wrestling

Hart district votes to adopt the sport

Posted: June 19, 2014 8:43 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2014 8:43 p.m.

Wrestling is set to make its way back into the Hart district, after members of the district board voted this week to adopt wrestling as a self-sustaining interscholastic sport.

Wrestling will be instituted at Valencia High School, with the idea of beginning competition in the 2014-2015 season, following Wednesday’s vote from the William S. Hart Union High School District board.

“The pieces are all in place for Valencia High School wrestlers to take to the mat next year,” said Greg Lee, the district’s director of human resources and equity services.

Representatives from the local youth wrestling community have long worked with district staff to institute a wrestling program at Valencia High School.

“Two qualified coaches have been selected to direct the team, and there is sufficient financial means among the parent support group community to ensure the long term viability of a program at Valencia High School,” the board agenda item reads. “Local supporters have stepped forward to offer training facilities and expertise.”

Officials say there is a high level of support for wrestling in the Santa Clarita Valley, with ample participation by both male and female athletes.

“I think any time you can create opportunities for students it’s a good thing,” Lee said. “And I think wrestling in particular lends itself to a very wide spectrum of students because it’s an individual sport as well as a team sport.”

Lee said wrestling is expected to be a winter sport.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’ve reached a point where we can have wrestling in our district,” said board member Bob Jensen.

Board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine agreed.

“I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for wrestling and I really do believe in the sport,” she said Wednesday. “So I’m happy about it.

“I would love to see it on all of our campuses because the sport really is open to everyone and that’s what I love about it,” Mercado-Fortine continued.

Wrestling used to be a sanctioned sport in the Hart district, but it was cut in the 1970s.

In 2012, Trinity Classical Academy became the first local school to field a wrestling team since the sport was discontinued in the Hart district.

Former Hart district board member Paul Strickland, who regularly pushed to establish wrestling as a sport in the district during his time on the board, said Thursday that he was excited to hear the news.

“That’s wonderful,” he said when reached by phone. “I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled.”


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