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Smith build Patriots wrestling program from the ground floor | Sports News

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Smith build Patriots wrestling program from the ground floor | Sports News

“He said, ‘Hey Justin, this one of those thing that I think is going to happen in the next couple years. I think they’re going to have a wrestling team. They’re trying to ask me to do it but I keep referring them to you. Are you open to it?’” Smith said.

Coming from the local high school ranks gives Smith a good relationship with coaches in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge districts. He’s also built a good friendship with Division I, II, and III college coaches across Virginia. He estimates he’s talked with every Division II and Division III wrestling program in the state.

“All of them are very supportive of us, which is great,” Smith said. “Not a lot of junior college athletics programs can say they have relationships with programs from the Division I to the club level, so we’ve got that all across the board.”

The interest in the Patriots’ new program grows daily, and Smith said it’s no strange thing to get an email from a sophomore or junior in high school trying to learn more about PHCC.

The difficulty, though, lies in the unknown of what high schools will do about wrestling this year with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the country.

As of Wednesday, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) plans to have an abbreviated wrestling season beginning in December, but high schools have been non-committal about if they’ll allow their teams to compete at all, especially with students not attending classes in person.