Jay Bulldog wrestling has a very long history of winning seasons, 24 seasons to be exact and they're working this year toward number 25, indeed a wrestling program to be reckoned with.
The program continues to grow in opportunities and in participants. Just three years ago there were 98 Bulldog wrestlers, the following year it climbed to 119 and this year the program has 130.
Coach Izack Wilson credits part of the growth to use of social media and to the continuing success garnered each season.
Consistency, depth and unified direction has been a hallmark of Bulldog wrestling.
Coach Butch Willis originally coached Head Coach Jeff Stapleton when he attended Jay High School, then Coach Izack Wilson wrestled for Stapleton when Wilson attended Jay High School.
Stapleton and Wilson share co-head coach responsibilities and Willis is now the assistant coach.
Three generations of coaches have worked together to raise the program to where it is today.
Jay wrestling begins in elementary school in the Little League program and then on to junior high, finally arriving in the high school Bulldog program.
The Junior High Bulldog team recently took first place on November 22 in the Jay Junior High Open, with 15 schools represented.
Jay Junior High individual Bulldogs did well:
Gold Medal Winners: Gage Walker, Joe Davis, Maverick Williamson.
Silver Medal Winners: Adin Compher, Kobe Warren, Jeron Newcomb, Braydin Casey, Kaden Murray, Jed Hampton.
Bronze Medal Winners: Zach Eberle, Tsujzoo Lee, Plaub Lee, Krisly Keith, Levi Taylor, Kannon Scott, Jagger Jackson, Austin Flaming.
This season, for the first time, Jay has a varsity Lady Bulldogs wrestling team, consisting of 8 girls.
On November 23, the Lady Bulldogs dominated the Lady Wildcats Invitational at an all-girls Arkansas Duel in Bentonville, scoring 205 points against the next closest team, Lady Wildcats with 131 points.
The Lady Wildcat Invitational was the 1st EVER sanctioned girls’ tournament in the state of Arkansas.
Final Results: 2nd place; Keyariah Smith, Lilly Gough, Lexie Glover, Aryn Wilson.
3rd place; Ciara Franco-Shrum, Natalia Reyes, Carime Johnson and Chandler Atwood in 4th place.
The Lady Bulldogs will host their own all girls’ duel on December 3 at 5:00 pm.
Normally, girls don't wrestle boys, unless they choose to do so and some do as they want the tougher challenge to take on guys.
Wilson shared that girls' wrestling is the fastest growing collegiate sport, that if girls want to be a part of a college team for scholarships, all the girls from Jay would most likely find a spot.
Jay has had female wrestlers for years and now the Bulldogs can build on their history.
Actually, the main issue keeping the Jay Bulldogs wrestling program from growing, is the limitation of the facility.
The facilities have been maxed out and issues could have been addressed had the failed bond issue passed, but it didn’t.
"We don't want to stop growing, but might have to, without the needed facilities, because lack of facilities will hold back the program." shared Wilson.
The coaches are looking forward to this season as they lost only one senior from last year and have a number of promising freshmen stepping in, this year.
Freshmen Jeron Newcomb and Kaden Murray have already made their presence known.
Wilson is excited about the season as he shares "Our guys have been working hard and doing the right things, I'm ready to see this hard work pay off for them."
The Bulldogs have brand new wrestling software that will enable the team to track every facet of wrestling stats, which will help each wrestler be even stronger and smarter as they see instant results.
The team has appreciated the support of parents and community, as their fundraiser on November 22 raised over $15,000, another factor leading to continued Jay Bulldog wrestling growth.