Area wrestlers represent Rocky Mount area in a positive way

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On a recent weekend, a number of Rocky Mount youths represented our community exceptionally well at the 2014 NCHSAA Wrestling Championships.

Congratulations to Jacoby Benjamin (second place), Wilson Smith (third place), Keyaad Coley (third place), Rahshaun Elliott (sixth place), Quamale Person, Kendall Hamilton, Alberto Enciso, Joseph Cooper, Steven Joyner, Paulo Sanchez, and Jamahl Harris for their exceptional performances and positive embodiment of our hometown.

The Rocky Mount Wrestling Club has helped nearly all of these young men train and compete during wrestling’s spring and summer season.

The club aims to inspire boys and girls of Rocky Mount, Wilson and surrounding communities to lifelong success through the values and attributes that wrestling instills. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZis9HLnZ5c\)

The Rocky Mount Wrestling Club is affiliated with Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation and supports our local youths by providing a safe and encouraging environment.

Members develop and expand wrestling skills, become more physically fit, and learn qualities like discipline, respect, perseverance, responsibility, commitment, and work ethic. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edXSbGqW2jY&feature=youtu.be)

The Rocky Mount Wrestling Club mirrors the Beat the Streets organization that operates in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York City. These cities have long been known as hotbeds of talent for sports like basketball, baseball and boxing.

As wrestling grows in popularity at schools across the country, these cities -- like Rocky Mount -- are also becoming known for the outstanding wrestlers they are producing, thanks to initiatives like the wrestling club and Beat the Streets. (http://nyti.ms/1fDm63I)

The dedication and sacrifice of training outside the scholastic season is paying off for wrestlers in the Rocky Mount area.

Freshman phenom Wilson Smith has his sights set on becoming the first three-time state champion in Rocky Mount history after becoming the area’s first freshman to win a regional title. The Gryphon ninth-grader also finished third at the state championships. His only loss came in a close battle with the defending state champion. More important, Smith’s dedication applies to the classroom where he excels, as well.

Wrestling has also been credited by many of the NFL’s greatest players and coaches as their foundation of toughness and discipline. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy-INHt_0Sg)

Ryan Hepler, a Rocky Mount Police officer, is an instrumental member of the coaching staff that includes Stephen Kenard, a local physician and former N.C. State wrestling star; and George Bancroft, a small business owner. Local area high school coaches such as J.J. Jones and Corey Mercer drop by occasionally, as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the club, please contact Ryan Hepler at 955-0707.

Please share this letter. Wrestling provides an opportunity for every size of athlete to compete against others of the same size.

“Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” -- Dan Gable, Olympic Champion and former head coach at the University of Iowa.

Lee Culpepper

Rocky Mount