A former Polk County High wrestler, Jerry Cox understands the reasons some athletes would rather not give the sport a try.
“You don’t get a lot of spectators at most of your matches,” Cox said. “It’s not a sport you can watch on TV.”
But Cox has also seen the positives that participating in the sport can bring.
“You build a work ethic,” Cox said. “The thing about wrestling is that it’s a team sport, but it’s also individual. When you’re on the mat, win or lose, you know it’s all you. You can’t blame anyone else for what happens.
“You get a work ethic and you learn dedication and you learn to do little things right.”
Cox, who has taken over as Polk County Middle School’s head coach for the upcoming season, hopes a few more Wolvernes will give the sport a try. Though Polk Middle has begun practice with more than 20 athletes, many of those are newcomers who will wrestle at the lower weight classes, leaving the squad short on experience and depth.
“We’re still trying to recruit some more kids to come out,” Cox said. “We had 45 at our first meeting, but we’re down to about 25, and most of those are wrestling at 135 or lower. We don’t have many kids in the upper weight classes.”
Jacob Knighton and Bryson McCraw are among Polk Middle’s few returnees as Cox looks to build the Wolverine program. To that end, he has recruited former Polk County High School head coach Phillip Miller to help with the team this season.
Polk Middle opens its season on Nov. 28 at home against Macon Middle School, and Cox said anyone interested in wrestling can still join the team. Anyone with questions can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want to build a program, so we’re trying to get as many kids out as we can,” Cox said. “It’s hard to win when you can’t fill out all of the weight classes.”