Lovvorn tapped to lead new girls' wrestling team at HHS
One of the fastest growing sports in the country is girls’ wrestling, and Holton High School is getting ready to start its own team next year with Mike Lovvorn at the helm.
“It’s just going to be an amazing experience for these girls to go and be able to compete and battle,” said Lovvorn, who was recently hired by the Holton school board as head girls wrestling coach. “It’s a very popular sport. It’s coming on strong.”
The job is also a perfect fit for Lovvorn, who wrestled during his years as a Wildcat, finishing third at state during his senior year, and has watched as three sons went on to wrestling success of their own. But it’s also a job that he almost didn’t take.
“I’ve been asked by several people, parents and others, if I would coach a girls’ wrestling team,” said Lovvorn, who along with brother Jimmy has owned and operated Lovvorn Brothers Body Shop since 1988. “But I always turned them down, because I didn’t think there would ever be a coaching job. In order to make a program real, in order to make it sound, it has to have a head coach.”
Lovvorn’s also aware that for a team to be successful, there has to be a good number of participants — and in this case, he believes that there’s more than enough interest in a girls wrestling team.
“They’re going to have the numbers. I think there’s 15 girls right now,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 20 to 25 girls.”
Another important factor is enthusiasm, and HHS head wrestling coach Cullen Jackson believes that Lovvorn is “just the guy to come in and bring that enthusiasm and show these girls what it takes to win.”
In recent years, girls interested in wrestling at HHS — and many other area schools — have been competing as part of the boys’ wrestling program.
“We had a handful of girls out for wrestling last year,” Jackson said. “I think the success they had is really what’s driving the bus and getting more girls on board and excited about what we’re doing.”
Now that a girls’ wrestling team has been created at Holton High School, Lovvorn said that girls and boys will practice and wrestle separately.
Lovvorn, a 1986 graduate of HHS, knew he wasn’t finished with wrestling after competing for two years at Labette Community College in southeast Kansas, so discussions between then-HHS wrestling coaches Gerald Sadowski and Bob Phillips about getting a youth “federation team” started piqued his interest.
That, Lovvorn noted, was the start of the Jackson County Wrestling Club, and Lovvorn served as a coach from its inception “until about a year ago,” about 34 years, he said. At that point, he noted, it was mostly a boys’ sport, but there were a few girls who showed interest in the program.
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