"I was blessed to be around a lot of good coaches,'' Burns said. "I finished up pretty good for a second-year wrestler [at Nitro], but I came out of a good program. It wasn't about the wrestling. It was about the hard work and commitment. Success on the mat was a byproduct.''
Burns, along with several fathers, started the wrestling program at Roanoke Catholic in 2000. Roanoke Catholic, which has 448 students in grades kindergarten through 12, has produced one state champion, 26 state place-winners and 11 national qualifiers in 14 seasons under Burns.
"Wrestling is a very good program for this high school,'' Burns said. "Whether they're 106 pounds or 220, there's a home for them. We've developed the program down through the years. We've got a pretty good program for the number of kids we have.''
Burns now finds himself passing on the same virtues that he soaked up from Vance.
"It's about creating opportunities for the kids,'' said Burns. "Make them better than they were when they walked through the door.
"I enjoy and like to see the kids be successful. It's not about the wins. It's about the effort. They'll take that off the mat and go do things.''
Roanoke Catholic was 13th out of 15 teams with 32 points after the first day of competition Friday. Johnson Central (Ky.) compiled 99 points to lead after the opening day, with Riverside in second with 76. St. Albans (66), Winfield (601/2) and Capital (58) rounded out the top five. (See Page 2B for team standings and semifinal pairings.)
The event will resume at 9:30 a.m. today with the championship matches set for 3:30 p.m.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.