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AHS breaks ground on wrestling gym

AHS breaks ground on wrestling gym
Posted on 02/03/2021

Andrew Sossaman has a unique perspective on the Arlington High School wrestling program. First, he’s an AHS alumnus himself, having started as a freshman in 2005 just one year after the school first opened. Like the school itself, Sossaman has watched the program grow year after year and become part of the fabric of Arlington High.

“We started wrestling in classrooms because the athletic hallway was still being built,” he laughed. “We eventually moved into a mat room that is so small that you’re constantly worried about tripping over other players.” Sossaman graduated in 2009, after becoming the first Individual Regional Champion in AHS Wrestling history, and eventually returned as a teacher and assistant coach four years later in 2013. By now, a lot about the school has changed; one thing remains the same though: the wrestling team is still confined to that small space. But that’s going to change soon.

This week, AHS, Chris Woods Construction and architectural firm Renaissance Group broke ground on an add-on, 14,500 square foot wrestling gymnasium that can also function as a multi-purpose space. The facility will house a locker room, weight room and an open space for competitions. The new addition, as needed, will also function as extra classroom space, a testing center, and for other sports such as cheer or dancing.

“It’s great that our kids have a place to finally call their own and can take pride in,” said Head Wrestling Coach Jonathan Simpson. “We’re looking to host high-level tournaments with teams from across the southeastern portion of the U.S., and it’s also going to allow us to provide camps and clinics for younger athletes.”

Simpson pointed to Arlington Youth Wrestling (AYW) as one reason why the AHS program has been so successful over the years. AYW has created a community of young wrestlers that are now feeding directly into Arlington High’s program. Every year since 2014, AHS Wrestling has had Region Duals and Region Individual Champions, ranked within the Top 10 in the TSSAA Duals and among the highest in the TSSAA Individual competitions. The program also boasts a State Medalist (Nathan Enzor) and two State Champions (Austin Antcliffe and Reed Cannon), not including several top winners in other categories.

“We’re now at the point where our alumni are starting to have their own kids, and they’ll soon want to bring their kids back to show them our history and traditions,” Simpson continued. “Hopefully their kids will grow up in the program we have here in Arlington and it can all come full circle. I think this facility will allow us to grow even stronger into the future and help future wrestlers become successful too.”

In addition to the amenities already mentioned, the gym will offer seating for 300 and a coach’s office. A new adjoining parking lot will also add 127 spaces near the entrance of the facility. “Maybe I have ‘Tiger colored glasses’ on a bit, but I truly think this is going to be an incredible building where people will want to go,” Simpson said.

“When building a new facility, we always look to see how this could beneficially impact us years down the road, and this facility does just that,” said Superintendent Jeff Mayo. “Not only is it going to give our athletes even more opportunities to host local and statewide competitions and keep them competitive to win potential scholarships and contests, it’s also giving us extra space for other academic and athletic purposes.”

The new facility is expected to open by the 2021-2022 school year.

Wrestling Gym