Rolla was finally able to use their new wrestling room for the first time last week.
When the Rolla school District set up their last 10 year plan, part of it was to build a new wrestling room at the high school. When head wrestling coach Marty Hauck came into the fold three years ago, he was given the chance to help design the room and knew it was a great opportunity to shine a light on the history of wrestling in Rolla. So he and his staff cracked open year book after year book to dig up every bit of Bulldog wrestling history and they put as much as they could into the room.
"Everything on these walls is a piece of history," said coach Hauck.
When you walk into the new wrestling room, you'll find an entry way where you can sit and watch practice through a window. That waiting room also serves as an introduction to the history of wrestling at Rolla. Above the windows, you'll see plaques of every head coach that the wrestling team has had at RHS, as well as some of their major accomplishments, dating all the way back to their first season in 1969. Between the windows on that wall you can find Rolla's record for every season, as well. You'll also see a picture of Blayne Shockley, the school's only State Champion in 2007, on a nearby wall as you approach the coaches' office. Even the coaches' office is chalk full of history from old crests to a Rolla wrestling jacket from the 80's. On the back wall, you'll see the training levels that Rolla has that ranges from their new youth wrestlers to their State level athletes. This is in here to give parents a sense of what is expected of their athlete. That wall will also soon include some highlights from the youth level, because the two youth teams will each have time to use the wrestling room for practices.
As you move past the waiting room, you walk out to a floor of fitted mats that are there to stay. While it may seem like a little thing, it saves the Bulldogs so much time to not need to shuffle mats in and out of the rooms, rolling them and unrolling them every practice. It saves them time, but also gives them a sense that this is a place that's just for wrestling. You'll also see padding all along the walls with the words "Rolla Wrestling" in massive letters on the far wall.
"They're here, they're down," said coach Hauck of the mats. "In the past we've had to roll them up back and forth in the high school cafeteria for a long time and that cuts out 30 minutes of your practice every day. Now these kids are very fortunate to just be able to come up, change shoes, start wrestling and leave."
Above those words is even more history. Painted on the wall above "Rolla" is an old wrestling logo that was mistakenly painted over in a past wrestling room placed directly in the middle of a peg board for workouts.
"We've got the R with the freestyle guys in it. Looking through the yearbooks we noticed that that symbol was up on the wall through the 80's and 90's in the old room. We wanted to bring that back in for the fans and for the history of the program. Those guys that walk in here can see that and remember it and that's kind of what we want, we want them to come back and feel right at home. It's a new room, but they're the ones that help build this."
When you look above the "Wrestling" portion of the wall, you'll see the biggest part of history that Rolla is looking to add to. There you'll find a list of team accolades like Conference and District Championships, as well as top team finishes at the State Meet. Next to that you'll find individual accomplishments that includes a podium for all of the State places with a lot of extra room to add to the list. There's also an added list for wrestlers who placed at State three or four times during their career. There is one name missing from that list, as coach Hauck waits to see if Coleman Brainard can move from the three time list to the four time list this season. They'll also be adding an Academic All-State award board, but they're trying to figure out how they want to honor the athletes who met all the requirements under coaches that didn't belong to the Missouri Wrestling Association and therefore weren't formally honored with being Academic All-State.
"We definitely added a lot of room to add to it," said Hauck of the wall of accomplishments. "48 years of the program and we've got a lot of names to add to it hopefully in the next 50 years, it'll be up there quite a bit."
The two side walls are used heavily in practice. To the left of the waiting room is a wall with pull-up bars and ropes for workouts, while the right wall is used for visuals. The Coach Haskell Memorial Fund helped provide a projector, so the team can watch videos and different things to help improve their craft. Coach Hauck uses it as a teaching tool for wrestling, but also to help teach his athletes about history.
"We use it daily. We've got accounts for different video programs and things that show moves and help our kids. And we can record our kids and scout ourself and put it right up on the wall in the middle of practice and show kids. We've used it every day at least three to four times in a practice," said coach Hauck. "We've got the American flag and we can teach things through the projector and through wrestling about our country and our history, not just the Rolla wrestling history, but about our American history and the value of all those things."
The final new piece is the new "Wrestler of the Week" belt. While Rolla has done things like "Wrestler of the Week" before, Legends Bank sponsored a gorgeous 10-pound belt studded with all the bells and whistles that the kids will fight for the right to wear around the school when they've earned it. Until the first "Wrestler of the Week" is crowned, it sits on the window of the coaches' office.
Coach Hauck is proud of all the work that went into building this new room for the program and the fact that the Rolla community really came together to make it happen.
"We've got the RTI and we've kind of had all hands on deck as far as the school putting this room together," said coach Hauck. "Everybody had a big part in it and it's awesome to see the community and the school work together and the school really grasping it and giving wrestling the recognition and our own space...to have our own space, it's phenomenal."