An all-inclusive wrestling club has come to Coffee County, while nurturing the surrounding area as well. Wrestling coaches Randall Jennings and Roger Barlow from Manchester, and Al and Jenna Morris from Tullahoma have all helped create a wrestling club that is available to wrestlers from across Coffee County, as well as Warren County and other surrounding areas.
Jennings gave insight into the club’s purpose and origins, saying: “This is the first year we’ve done it as a Legacy. We tried to do things like this in the past, but they never really worked as well as this year.
Jennings said the club had seen 10-15 children in total in the past, however, this year the number has doubled. “This year we have about 30 kids from six different schools,” Jennings said.
The coach was asked why the club was created, and he mentioned that developing the skills of children and bringing more attention to freestyle and Greek wrestling can help them develop their talents and abilities. “We know that’s an added bonus for folk-style seasons and their (kids) regular high school seasons. I think one of the great things this year was that all the coaches in the area bought in as well,” Jennings said of the all-school partnership.
“We have kids from Coffee County, including Tullahoma, Warren County, Sewanee, Cascade and maybe Shelbyville once in a while.” said Jennings.
The main difference between LWC and the regular high school seasons is that the atmosphere is more laid back and puts more emphasis on rounding up the skills of the kids. Jennings connects the resemblance of the wrestling club to that of the travel ball for baseball players.
“The goal is really to provide a wrestling option for those who are interested year-round,” Jennings said. The club begins its season at the end of high school wrestling season and intends to end at the start of the next, offering wrestling as an off-season option.
“It’s a really good opportunity for the kids to not only get on the mats and expand their wrestling repertoire, but also to bond.”
Jennings mentioned that there have been former wrestlers who weren’t recognized for their athleticism during high school seasons, who were recognized during freestyle and Greco seasons. This recognition gave these wrestlers the opportunity to take their wrestling to the next level.
“It’s our first year and that’s also important, but we’ve been trying every now and then to get to that level for two or three years. We’ve always had a good partnership with Tullahoma, but this is the first year that we actually started a club and got sanctioned by USA Wrestling. It’s legit. We want to keep growing and building double teams, like a season in high school.