Mascoma Royals Wrestling; The New Kids On The Block
Mascoma Royals Wrestling may seem like the new kids on the block in Upper Valley Sports, but this is actually the fourth year of the program and according to Coach Rick Simula, “We’re doing fantastic and couldn’t be more excited!” He continued, “there are a lot of programs that have been around for twenty years or more and don’t have the numbers we have.” With only two holes in the 14 spots, the Royals have almost twenty wrestlers in the program including three women.
The evolution of a program starts at the club level and has to progress through two years of JV before attaining Varsity status. During that time, there are so many hurdles to jump that many programs never make it. Obviously the biggest is having wrestlers and the second is raising the money to support the program. You also need a place to house the team. Very few schools at the D3 high school level have dedicated wrestling rooms, so it means teams have to work around other schedules or they have to get creative.
Mascoma Royals wrestling has done just that; the team utilizes the ample space in the cafeteria, a room with a high ceiling,
plenty of ventilation and an area large enough to accommodate a full size mat. Of course, it also means they have to break down all of the tables and set up the mats every day. After practice they have to roll up the mats and set up the tables again. An arduous task but, “it’s worth it to have this space.” So let’s segue back to the beginning.
Coach Simula, a former Plymouth High School Heavyweight Champ and Plymouth State Captain loves the sport of wrestling and the values he learned. In response to what he’s garnered from his experiences he replied, “tons; it teaches you a work ethic which is the best thing you can learn, you work hard, you set goals and kids that can follow that program will have success in wrestling and in life.” He wanted the opportunity to impart that ethic on the kids in his native turf. When he moved back to this area he was fortunate to land a job at Mascoma and get the program rolling.
So he’s fortunate enough to have wrestler’s that are interested, now comes the not-so-easy task of funding the program. Just a
new mat alone can cost in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars; obviously that wasn’t in the immediate future, however Cardigan Mountain School donated their old mats to the program. Having jumped two of the major hurdles, there’s still the issue of money to fund the uniforms, wrestling fees, road expenses and various other financial barriers.
Here’s where Coach Simula was most appreciative, “speaking of funding, something to note is the booster club. Some of the
parents got together, Yarrow being one of them, (referring to Yarrow Farnsworth whose two sons both wrestle) and started the organization. They have been absolutely awesome as far as raising money for any needs that we really have. As a first year varsity program, you’re uncertain what the school will or won’t fund. The booster club has gotten us new mats, uniforms through generous donations from the Byrne Foundation and the Canaan Lions Club and “I don’t know where we’d be without them!”
“I got involved because I saw how amazing the sport is for all the kids”, says Yarrow Farnsworth. “They learn if they get defeated they can walk away with pride and although it’s painful, they learn a whole other scope of control and respect, a discipline necessary, especially in boys. We’re also lucky to have a lot of support from the parents. They really show up in large numbers for our meets.”
Coach was also appreciative of his wrestlers. “We have tough kids, I think it will be exciting to see how the program progresses over the next few years. Hopefully we’ll continue to get good numbers and get a few home matches next year.” They have a junior program whose members wrestle with the varsity twice a week. “It would be nice to start a middle school program and have someone to mentor them so when they get to the varsity level they’ll have some experience and a better chance for success in high school.”
It’s hard to imagine how much work goes into creating and developing a program like this. Under Coach Simula’s tutelage, with
the help of some very supportive parents, a booster club and a school administration, has grown from 9 to almost 20 wrestlers. They’ve grown from a totally novice club program to a full varsity team that’s starting to see some success individually and collectively, and the future of the program looks very bright indeed.
The last piece of the equation is to have support on the mats. This is essential to push the wrestlers to the next level and help them drill. “I’m very lucky to have Coach Bill and Coach Micka to help me train the kids and be at the meets.”
Shout out to Babben Kulbacki for helping start and run the wrestling boosters these past few years.
The collective effort expended by all of the parties involved has produced some awesome results. “We still have a long way to
go,” exclaims Coach Simula. “We need to get some more wrestlers in the junior program and it would be nice to get something going in the middle school. All in all though, we’re extremely happy where we are and as long as we continue to get the numbers I see a very promising future.”
Good luck to everyone involved and congratulations. It’s great to see programs grow and flourish and see more kids involved in the great sport or wrestling.
Be Sure to follow Mascoma Royals Wrestling on their facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/
Mascoma Royals Wrestling; UpperValleySports.org