The Game Change: Wrestling

An organization in Tupelo is trying to bring high school wrestling back to the Magnolia State.

Posted: Feb 16, 2021 7:00 PM
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 8:59 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Over the weekend at the Tupelo Flea Market, the Missississippi Wrestling Foundation held a demonstration to educate shoppers about the sport. Mississippi is the only state in the United States to not have wrestling as a statewide sport. Which, is kind of a bummer for Nettleton native Autumn Jones.

"Because I love the sport, it’s a good sport, it gives me confidence, helps with self-defense, it’s a great sport," Jones said.

Girl's wrestling is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States. According to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, since 1990, girls wrestling went from 112 girls to over 21-thousand in 2019. Nearly 250-thousand boys compete in high school wrestling, but the sport hasn’t caught on in the Magnolia State. It's something Brian Fox, who wrestled in high school and college in his native state of Ohio is trying to change.

"Our goal is to get to 15 new schools by next wrestling season which is November," Fox said. "So we’d have 17 total the first year, our second year goal is 30 to 40 schools and then our three to five year goal is 100 schools."

Fox said once he hits that mark, the MHSAA will sponsor a state-wide tournament. Fox and the Mississippi Wrestling Foundation are offering to donate mats, equipment, and coaching tutorials for the first 10 schools that begin a wrestling program. The effort hit home for Blue Mountain native Jose Moreno. He wanted to wrestle in high school but couldn’t find a home. Now he’s helping Fox.

"You know if you weren’t a basketball guy or baseball guy you just didn’t have a sport," Moreno said. "I always knew that other schools had wrestling it was just something like well why don’t we have it?"

So far Fox said he’s gotten interest from schools in Tupelo and in Desoto County. He’s also trying to get local colleges involved like Blue Mountain College, so that kids who might not fit the traditional mold of basketball or soccer, can have a winter sport to participate in.

"The cross-training benefits learning how to use your leverage, coordination, flexibility, quickness, power," Fox said. "If you’re too big or too small to play football or basketball or you just don’t play those things, it’s another option for students."

If you have a kid who is interested in participating, the Mississippi Wrestling Foundation is holding classes at UFM fitness in Tupelo.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20772248
Hinds19888408
Harrison17489302
Rankin13311275
Jackson13097243
Madison9895210
Lee9856169
Jones8290160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7187237
Lowndes6262144
Lamar610584
Lafayette6027117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4419139
Warren4280118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403675
Neshoba3987176
Lincoln3869108
Hancock372085
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3180104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265779
Wayne261341
Leake261073
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120041
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81823
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
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A cold front will move into our area during our Tuesday. This front will bring some chances for some rain and isolated thunderstorms for our Tuesday night. Some of the activity will linger in our area into our Wednesday.
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