Harper said the coaches began the county championships in hopes of giving wrestling a higher profile in the Kanawha Valley. There were no ranked teams in the coaches association-wvmat.com polls at the Kanawha County Championships and only GW's Smith (AAA, 160) and Hoover's Woods (AA, 285) were ranked atop their weight class.
"I think overall we're getting better every year,'' said the GW coach. "I think Hoover's right there, GW's right there and Riverside had a pretty full team. A couple of teams are down with numbers.''
"It's about the same as it was when I first started,'' added Perry, who is in his third year with the Huskies program. "We've got some really good kids, we just don't have enough of them.''
Harper said he is seeing the sport heading in the right direction in the Valley.
"I do think St. Albans in the next few years, they've got that [youth] program that will eventually benefit them so I'm hoping other guys will start catching up,'' he said. "Then we've got that club downtown that a lot of these kids are going to so they're getting a little extra bit of wrestling here and there.
"I'm seeing a little more commitment from the kids in the area. I hope down the road that's going to make everybody better. It would be nice to stay home every now and then and wrestle in the Valley and get some good competition.
"We spend so much money traveling to wrestle tough competition that I spend half my time raising money instead of coaching. We've got some good kids in this area. We don't get the credit we deserve. I'm hoping to change that mentality. All we can do is keep working.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.