Team Georgia gives 10 000 matching grant to new four year varsity team at Shorter UniversityTeam Georgia leaders Ron Domanico (left) and Anthony Flatt (center) present a $10,000 check to Shorter University head wrestling coach Josh Henson to support their new varsity wrestling program. Photo courtesy of Team Georgia.
Team Georgia, the USA Wrestling state association in Georgia, presented a check for $10,000 to officials at Shorter University in Rome, Ga. in support of Shorter's new varsity wrestling program.
Shorter, which competes in the NAIA, is currently the only four-year college varsity wrestling program in the state. Team Georgia has played a key role in the statewide effort by the wrestling community to develop college wrestling programs within Georgia.
The check was presented by Team Georgia's state chairperson Anthony Flatt and Treasurer Ron Domanico to Shorter head wrestling coach Josh Henson, prior to Shorter's first home wrestling match on Friday, November 12. Shorter defeated Central Baptist College, 50-3, to get the program off to a strong start.
"There are so many people that have given their unwavering support to help get our program off the ground and it was so nice to be able to show them our appreciation by bringing them such a successful event," said Coach Henson. "This was truly a celebration of wrestling. The fact that we are competing and people have a chance to come watch a college wrestling match on a Friday night is very special."
Team Georgia, recognized as one of the most successful and innovative USA Wrestling state associations, was pleased to assist Shorter in its fundraising efforts for wrestling.
"It's a matching grant" said Flatt."They need to raise $30,000 for this year, so they will need to match this. We have given them the funds already to get them started."
Flatt said that there might have been an ability for the organization to cover the whole amount, but the Team Georgia leaders know that the wrestling program there will need to continue to actively seek financial support in future years.
"Our thought is that we didn't want to give them fish; we wanted to help teach them to fish" said Flatt.
The opportunity for Georgia student-athletes to attend college and compete in wrestling in their home state brings tremendous satisfaction to those involved with Team Georgia.
"We think this new program is great" said Flatt. "The natural progression from high school wrestling is to wrestle in college. The Georgia kids did not have the opportunity to attend a four-year college and wrestle on a varsity team. They had to go out of state, and a lot of kids did go out of state. However, many others would like to go to college and compete closer to home. Now they can."
Helping Shorter University is just a start for Team Georgia, which has set higher goals for college wrestling in the state.
"We want to support all college level wrestling, but we specifically want to help four-year varsity programs" said Flatt. "The NAIA seems to be the best path for that. We are talking to between four and five other colleges. We would like to add a program every year if we can. We would love to see an entire conference for wrestling here in Georgia. That would give them built-in competition here in the state."
Shorter University wrestling website
Team Georgia Wrestling website