WEST JEFFERSON — For the first time in several years, the Ashe County Husky wrestling program can say they have a wrestler at every single weight class entering the season.
Ashe currently has 23 wrestlers expected to open the season, including eight grapplers returning from last year’s team.
The Huskies have three seniors on the team this year: John Reavis, Tate Miller and Harley Miller. Reavis finished sixth in the state as a junior and is hoping to add a state championship to his already-successful wrestling career.
Zach Bare is the lone returning junior from last year’s team while Drake Elliott, Trent Baker, Isaac Miller and Preston Mash are all sophomores this season after getting their feet wet as freshman in 2016.
That leaves 15 newcomers to the team this year, including 10 freshman from a tremendous middle school program that dominated its competition last year on the way to a conference championship.
Senior Adam Coldiron is new to the team this year as well as junior Logan Richardson and sophomores Chase Church, Jordan Brosius and Marcos Ramirez. The stellar freshman class includes Justin Greene, J.J. Mannan, Tyler Blevins, Hunter Brown, Keenan Witherspoon, Gabe Bare, Ryan Blevins, Ashton Hash, Timothy Peterson and Keagan Church.
Following the retirement of long-time head coach Keith Phillips, Adam Elliott will oversee the program as the new head coach along with help from assistant coaches Danny Dillard, Aaron Scott, Donnie Parker and Jackson Powers. Scott earned a state championship while wrestling at Ashe County High School in 2009 and was a member of the wrestling team at Appalachian State University.
“We will be young, but having every weight class filled to start a match will be huge. In the past we have started matches down 30 points plus because we did not have anyone in that weight class,” Elliott said. “I am excited about this upcoming wrestling season.”
Coach Elliott also pointed out that while this team may be young, they do have a lot of experience wrestling at the middle school as well as at the club level and AAU level with the Mat Monsters program. Elliott believes all of that hard work will help make the program strong once again.
Ashe opens the season this Saturday at the Forbush Duals with matches beginning at 9 a.m.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-489-3062.