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Friday, February 18, 2011

Can mixed martial arts save wrestling?

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Randy Couture remembers the path his life was supposed to follow. He would put his foreign language and literature degree to good use as a high school teacher, and his background as an All-American wrestler to work as a coach. 

By Josh Hedges/Zuffa via Getty Images
UFC star Randy Couture was a three-time wrestling All-American at Oklahoma State.

Those were the days before mixed martial arts, back when something called the Ultimate Fighting Championship was only beginning to give birth to an entirely new sport. The former NCAA runner-up atOklahoma State was content trying out for the Olympics, helping young wrestlers in high school and college, and scraping together enough money for a decent living.
Couture never envisioned he would become one of the pioneers of MMA, nor that the sport once derided by Sen. John McCain as "human cockfighting" might help save his own first love.

As school wrestling programs are put on chopping blocks across the country, either to reach Title IX compliance or save a few bucks in a down economy, mixed martial arts is providing the centuries-old sport some salvation. Kids interested in professional fighting without access to trainers or gyms are giving it a lift — simply by walking into wrestling rooms again.

"Wrestling is a great foundation for mixed martial arts," said Couture, who shelved his original career path in favor of the UFC in the late 1990s, only to see it explode in popularity. "It's one of the oldest combative sports on the planet for a reason."

Mixed martial arts has undoubtedly become big business, catering to a younger demographic that snaps up T-shirts and tickets, video games and energy drinks. Thousands of fans are turned on by the action, the intensity, the sacrifice that it takes to be great.
In short, many of the same elements that once drove kids to wrestling.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 355,000 high schoolers competed on 9,772 teams during the sport's high-water mark in 1977, back when Dan Gable was an Olympic hero and the United States was a force on the international scene.

By 1995, more than 1,200 of those programs had been cut and participation was at 217,000.
The cuts have been just as pronounced in college, where more than 650 schools have axed programs across all levels, including 177 in Division I, according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Among those to drop the sport are Auburn, Florida State and Texas — schools that spend lavishly on football and other athletic programs.

Part of the decline has been tied to Title IX, the landmark federal legislation passed in 1972 designed to create equal educational opportunities for men and women. Schools began cutting men's programs such as wrestling that had no female equivalent in an attempt to balance the number of teams for each gender, along with the amount of money allocated to them.

By the early 1980s, the country found itself in the throes of a recession, and more schools began trimming the sport to save money, a practice that continued into the mid-90s.

"In a lot of ways, wrestling has been the redheaded stepchild in the sports world," Couture said. "It's never really had that status with the general public."

About the time wrestling was at its lowest, the UFC came barreling onto the scene.
A group of investors put together a single-elimination tournament in November 1993 designed to crown the world's best fighting style. The pay-per-view show was a modest success, and more events followed, before McCain and others began to deride the often-bloody combat.

Mixed martial arts went underground and overseas as state after state banned "no-holds-barred" fighting, only to reappear in earnest during the early part of the last decade, when the UFC began to work with state athletic commissions on a universal set of rules and regulations.

When the UFC landed a reality show on cable, it ushered in a new era for mixed martial arts. All those states that had been disgusted by the sport began to sanction it, crowds began to fill major arenas, millions watched on television, and mainstream sponsors began flocking to a sport that had just a few years earlier been considered taboo.

Fast-forward to the present. The UFC recently sold out 55,000 seats at the Rogers Centre in Toronto for a show on April 30. An event by rival promoter Strikeforce last weekend in New Jersey attracted more than 1.1 million viewers for premium cable partner Showtime.

Wrestling can only dream of that kind of attention.

"The MMA is a tricky situation for amateur wrestling," said Mike Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. "As more young kids across the nation watch MMA, it reinforces the notion that combative sports are cool, and as a result, it's become the 'in thing.' That will inspire more young kids to participate in amateur wrestling.

"On the other hand, entities like ours are constantly trying to convince key decision-making administrators that amateur wrestling supports the greater educational mission of schools."

Whatever the reason, the link between MMA and wrestling has been good for both sports.

Mixed martial arts has begun plucking talented wrestlers from college programs across the country, giving them an opportunity to continue competing that hadn't existed.

While the money is nowhere near what elite boxers and other professional athletes earn, the biggest stars still command six figures per fight. Smaller promotions can pay up to $40,000 per fight, often with bonuses for knockouts and the "fight of the night."

"The big-time wrestling fans haven't open-armed accepted fighting yet, they still feel like fighting is pulling wrestlers away," said former Michigan All-American Joe Warren, who's been fighting in the Bellator promotion. "We can make as much as you can make in a whole year winning a (wrestling) world championship in one fight. Hopefully the fans understand that."

Among those who have transitioned to mixed martial arts are former NCAA championBrock Lesnar, who previously struck it rich in the WWE; Dan Cormier, who wrestled in the Olympics and won Pan-Am gold after his career at Oklahoma State; and Ben Askren, the 2007 and '08 NCAA champion from Missouri whose younger brother also wrestled for the Tigers.

While they still must learn other major elements of MMA — like jiujitsu and kickboxing — wrestlers already have a background in the ground game, and an understanding of the unique work ethic that goes into conditioning, strength training and monitoring their weight.

"Wrestling is the base of all grappling, and all hand-to-hand combat. If you're a good wrestler, you're going to be good at this," said Warren, who also hopes to make the Greco-Roman team for the 2012 London Olympics. "Wrestling teaches you how to scramble, mental toughness, and that's something I think MMA people who don't come from wrestling don't have."

Warren believes so much in the marriage of MMA and wrestling that he helped establish RiNo Sport Galleri, a gym in Denver that caters to both sports.

Many high school wrestling coaches worry the two will become inextricably linked — they are, after all, different sports, with different rules and objectives. But they've also witnessed the number of kids coming to their practices increase dramatically, and they know why.

"I'm starting to get youngsters coming to my camp that want to move into MMA someday," said Jeff Jordan, who's coached St. Paris Graham to 10 straight Division II Ohio state titles. "I'm not a big MMA fan, but I know being a good wrestler is a great foundation."

That's a big reason why participation has risen every year since 2004, gaining back about 40,000 kids from the sport's nadir. More than 10,000 high schools now sponsor wrestling, the most ever, according to the coaches association, and Arkansas became the 49th state to sanction championships when it added 42 programs for the 2008-09 school year.

"It's an interesting subject," said Jeff Buxton, who runs one of the elite high school wrestling programs in the country at New Jersey's Blair Academy. "I had a friend who coached in New Mexico and fathers were pushing their kids into wrestling to prepare them for the MMA."

There are new opportunities for kids in college, too.

Despite pressing budget shortfalls in many states, 68 new programs have been added across all divisions since 1999 — offsetting 29 cuts over the same period. And this year's Division I tournament in Philadelphia has sold a record 105,000 tickets to all sessions, making it one of the top-five revenue-generating sports among all NCAA championships.

"MMA is certainly starting to show its face in the wrestling world. Or better yet, wrestling is starting to show its face in the MMA world," said Mark Reiland, the coach of Iowa City (West) High School, one of the top programs in the country.

"We do get kids that are very interested in the sport," he said. "Some talk about doing it when they finish. I believe a couple have even done some fights in the local events here. So it is starting to become something that may help the sport at the younger levels."
***
Here's a look at some former college and Olympic wrestlers who have made the transition to mixed martial arts:

•Randy Couture: The face of the UFC for years, Couture was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State and later coached at Oregon State. He made his UFC debut in 1997 and is still competing in MMA. His team, Xtreme Couture, is one of the sport's most successful.

•Brock Lesnar: Perhaps best known for his career in WWE, Lesnar wrestled at theUniversity of Minnesota, winning the 2000 NCAA title. He made his MMA debut in 2007 and won the UFC heavyweight title in his fourth professional fight.

Mark Coleman: One of the pioneers of MMA, Coleman was an NCAA champion at Ohio State before embarking on his professional fighting career. He fought in the UFC for the first time in 1996 and has established his own training camp made up primarily of former wrestlers.

•Dan Cormier: After winning two junior college titles, Cormier transferred to Oklahoma State and was national runner-up. He won gold at the 2003 Pan-Am Games and was fourth at the 2004 Olympics. He moved to MMA in 2009 and has won his first seven fights.

Aaron Simpson: A two-time All-American at Arizona State, Simpson has also been a college wrestling coach. He began fighting in 2007 and has fought primarily for the UFC.

Josh Koscheck: A four-time All-American at Edinboro University, Koscheck appeared on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, the reality-style cable program that helped establish the UFC as the dominant promotion. He has a professional record of 15-5.

Urijah Faber: One of the most popular fighters in the lighter weight divisions, Faber wrestled for UC-Davis and twice qualified for the NCAA tournament. He is 24-4 as a professional and has received some mainstream attention as a pitchman for the AMP energy drink.

Jake Rosholt: A three-time NCAA champion from Oklahoma State, Rosholt won his first five professional fights before losing three of his next five. He trains out of Couture's gym.

•Ben Askren: Considered among the best wrestlers ever at Missouri, Askren lost NCAA title matches in 2004 and '05 before winning the next two years. He also competed in the2008 Olympics before jumping to MMA in 2009, where he has won his first seven fights.

•Joe Warren: An All-American at Michigan, Warren began fighting in 2009 and has won five of his first six matches. He is simultaneously training with the U.S. national Greco-Roman team in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

HIGH SCHOOL: STATE MEET 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

At Augusta Civic Center 

CLASS A BRACKETS
CLASS B BRACKETS
CLASS C BRACKETS

103 A
1. Tyler Everett (MASS) MD 9-1
2. Kayleigh Longley (NOBL)
3. Elliot Allen (MARS) Pin 4:32
4. Nick Kothman (ERSK)
103 B
1. Connor Sheehan (FRYE) TF 16-0
2. Evan Drinkwater (BELF)
3. Connor Winchenbach (CAMD) Pin 1:25
4. Nicole Burgess (MTNV)
103 C
1. Nick McNamara (LISB) Pin 2:51
2. Alex Turanski (GEOR)
3. Dillon Garnett (DEXT) Dec 8-7
4. Megan Pelletier (FORT)

112 A
1. Tyler Davidson (MARS) dec 5-3
2. Iain Whitis (CHEV)
3. Khalil Newbill (MTBL) Dec 9-4
4. Lucas Dion (MASS)
112 B
1. Ryan Burgess (MTNV) Dec 6-3
2. Colin Sevigney (WELL)
3. Matt Frost (FRYE) MD 16-5
4. Jason Case (CARI)
112 C
1. Mark Smith (FOXC) MD 10-2
2. Tyler Salsbury (DEXT)
3. David Sirois (PENO) Pin 2:47
4. Jerry Prabhakaram (PISC)

119 A
1. Jake Rasque (MARS) Dec 8-1
2. Glenn Emery (WEST)
3. Troy Stringer (NOBL) Pin 4:07
4. Nicholas Hyde (MTBL)
119 B
1. Jordon Young (BELF) Dec 5-3
2. Brandon Goncalves (ELLS)
3. Coleman Powers (CAMD) Dec 5-0
4. Gary Stevens (MORS)
119 C
1. Forrest Cornell (LISB) Dec 3-0
2. Caleb Hall (DIRI)
3. Patrick McInnis (MONM) Dec 13-8
4. Jordan Lord (GEOR)

125 A
1. Ethan Gilman (MASS) Pin 3:44
2. William Bellottie (MARS)
3. Anthony Sprigg (BREW) Pin 4:43
4. Kevin Moore (MTBL)
125 B
1. Brent Waterman (BELF) Pin 4:43
2. Cody Magoon (MTNV)
3. Brendan Wood (CARI) Pin 2:40
4. Dylan York (LINC)
125 C
1. Josh Pomerleau (LISB) Pin 4:29
2. Trevor Weymouth (FOXC)
3. Aaron Webber (DEXT) Dec 8-6
4. Brett Whittemore (DIRI)

130 A
1. Jared Jensen (BRUN) Pin 1:04
2. Shane Shibles (NOBL)
3. Sam Oh (MTAR) Dec 7-3
4. Matthew Doe (KENN)
130 B
1. Tom Cassidy (CAMD) Dec 5-1
2. Jake Thurston (FRYE)
3. Stefan Nicholls (MEDO) MD 12-4
4. Brandon McDougal (MORS)
130 C
1. Scott Carpenter (CALA) MD 12-2
2. Cody Lozier (FORT)
3. Alex Francis (FOXC) Dec 8-3
4. Andrew Adams (DEXT)

135 A
1. William Lundquist (CONY) Dec 6-4
2. Tyler Beaudet (NOBL)
3. Peter LePage (MASS) MD 11-0
4. Drew Blanchet (MTBL)
135 B
1. Dan DelGallo (GARD) Dec 5-2
2. Wyatt Brackett (MORS)
3. Joe Provencher (MTNV) Pin 2:02
4. Ryan Gamblin (MCI)
135 C
1. Mike McNamara (LISB) Pin 5:26
2. Spencer Levesque (FORT)
3. Forrest Law (FOXC) Dec 6-4
4. Jesse Hutchinson (DIRI)

140 A
1. Ben Valencia (NOBL) Pin 5:56
2. Kaleb Austin (SKOW)
3. Qasey Perry (BREW) Dec 3-2
4. Jose Noyola (SANF)
140 B
1. Brandon Rich (CAMD) MD 11-2
2. Ryan Botting (HERM)
3. Willy Bennett (YORK) Pin 5:23
4. Keith Madore (OAKH)
140 C
1. Matt Nicholson (LISB) Dec 4-0
2. Jacob Stewart (BUCK)
3. Andrew Levenselor (DEXT) MD 8-0
4. Jeremy Voisine (FORT)

145 A
1. Jake Oh (MTAR) MD 12-4
2. Emmanuel Vincent (WEST)
3. Joseph Badger (NOBL) Pin 0:39
4. Daniel Lizotte (MARS)
145 B
1. Josh Thornton (MTNV) Dec 7-4
2. Peter Bacchiocchi (FRYE)
3. Craig Morrill (OAKH) MD 15-4
4. Justin Philbrook (BELF)
145 C
1. Eric Coulombe (MONM) Dec 5-2
2. Spencer McCormick (CALA)
3. Bryan Blackman (DIRI) MD 12-2
4. Todd Francis (FOXC)

152 A
1. Malcolm Marshall (MTAR) Dec 7-0
2. Graham Strondak (WEST)
3. Brian Bentley (NOBL) Pin 3:39
4. Ryan Cook (BONN)
152 B
1. Stefan Emery (FRYE) Dec 5-4
2. Ryan Grover (SUMN)
3. Ethan Fitzjurls (BELF) Dec 2-1
4. Jordan Brown (GARD)
152 C
1. Wesley Stinson (FOXC) Dec 7-2
2. Jacob Campbell (MADI)
3. Jordan Fogg (BUCK) Pin 1:54
4. Thomas Barnett (DIRI)

160 A
1. Brandon Corson (SKOW) Dec 4-3
2. Jonathan Badger (NOBL)
3. Troy Severance (BONN) Pin 1:28
4. Troy Fogg (WEST)
160 B
1. Jacob Powers (CAMD) Pin 2:49
2. Britton Moholland (MCI)
3. Justin Libby (OLDT) Dec 9-4
4. John Goyetche (YORK)
160 C
1. Dennis Webber (DIRI) Pin 1:18
2. Zac Smith (FOXC)
3. Kyle Foley (MADI) Dec 10-6
4. Brandon Hart (FORT)

171 A
1. Andrew Tripp (MASS) TF 18-2
2. Norton Revell (CONY)
3. Jacob Guimond (NOBL) Pin 2:59
4. Ryan Wood (ERSK)
171 B
1. Kornealius Wood (BELF) Dec 2-1
2. Taylor Carey (MTNV)
3. Nick Bishop (HERM) Pin 4:55
4. Mike Phillippon (ELLS)
171 C
1. Nathan Philbrook (PENO) Pin 3:03
2. Corey Bjornson-Weismore (FOXC)
3. Nelson Pepin (DIRI) Pin 1:47
4. Terrance Thomas (PISC)

189 A
1. Stephen Sawyer (WEST) Dec 5-2
2. Andrew Pineo (SKOW)
3. Micah Lewis (NOBL) MD 13-5
4. Cody Dular (CONY)
189 B
1. Josh Allen (MTNV) Pin 4:41
2. Sean Marrero (MORS)
3. Mike Hamm (OAKH) Pin 2:21
4. Deion Caudill (CARI)
189 C
1. Chris Powell (BUCK) Pin 2:49
2. Kyle Foyt-Bridges (MONM)
3. Evan Toth (CALV) Dec 10-9
4. Alex Snowman (DIRI)

215 A
1. Michael Cyr (SCAR) TF 17-2
2. Nicholas Ricker (MARS)
3. Joseph Metcalf (MTBL) Dec 5-1
4. Josh Andrews (MASS)
215 B
1. Christian Durland (MTNV) Dec 6-4
2. Rhett Chase (CAMD)
3. Nick Wells (OAKH) Dec 2-0
4. Sam Stone (LINC)
215 C
1. Zachary Ragot (WASH) Pin 2:57
2. Ryan Malcolm (MADI)
3. Damon Klinedinst (BUCK) Pin 0:38
4. Andrew Arias (LISB)

285 A
1. Josh Perschy (MARS) Dec 4-3
2. Marcus Eaton (BREW)
3. Matthew Brunelle (NOBL) Pin 3:19
4. Ivan Leet (MTAR)
285 B
1. Ryan Glover (MTNV) Dec 3-0
2. Aaron Mitchell (MORS)
3. Jacob Halberg (CAMD) Dec 3-1
4. Noah French (WELL)
285 C
1. CJ Stratton (PENO) Pin 1:46
2. Kyle Lockhart (DEXT)
3. Brenton Levesque (FORT) Pin 1:21
4. Peter Ruffalo (JAY

Congratulations 
Forrest Cornell: Four Time State Champion!

Wrestlers of the Meet (OW)
Class A - Pelletier Award:
Will Lundquist (Cony)

Class B - LaFountain Award:
Brent Waterman (Belfast)

Class C - Smith Award:
Forrest Cornell (Lisbon)

A Team Scores
 1. 181.5 Noble
 2. 126.0 Marshwood
 3. 113.0 Massabesic
 4. 75.0 Westbrook
 5. 67.5 Mt Ararat
 6. 60.5 Mt Blue
 7. 60.0 Skowhegan
 8. 50.0 Cony
 9. 45.0 Brewer
10. 23.0 Brunswick
11. 21.5 Scarborough
12. 21.0 Bonny Eagle
13. 19.5 Erskine Academy
14. 16.0 Cheverus
15. 12.0 Kennebunk
16. 7.0 Sanford
17. 6.0 Windham
18. 3.0 Biddeford
19. 2.0 Portland
20. 1.0 Deering
20. 1.0 Edward Little

B Team Scores (corrected)
 1. 168.5 Mtn Valley
 2. 141.0 Camden Hills
 3. 105.0 Belfast
 4. 94.0 Fryeburg Academy
 5. 71.0 Morse
 6. 49.0 Oak Hill
 7. 37.0 Hermon
 8. 36.0 Caribou
 9. 35.0 Gardiner
10. 30.0 Ellsworth
11. 29.0 Wells
12. 28.0 MCI (Maine Central)
13. 22.0 York
14. 20.0 Lincoln Academy
15. 18.0 Sumner
16. 16.0 Old Town
17. 14.0 Medomak Valley
18. 5.0 Winslow

C Team Scores (corrected)
 1. 128.0 Foxcroft Academy
 2. 122.0 Lisbon
 3. 120.0 Dirigo
 4. 94.0 Dexter
 5. 86.0 Fort Kent
 6. 72.5 Bucksport
 7. 62.0 Penobscot Valley
 8. 59.0 Monmouth Academy
 9. 47.0 Madison
10. 36.0 Calais
11. 28.0 Washington Academy
12. 27.0 George Stevens
13. 23.0 Piscataquis
14. 13.5 Calvary Chapel
15. 10.0 Jay
16. 6.0 Woodland
17. 0.0 Mattanawcook

Sportsmanship Awards
A West: Marshwood B West: Gardiner C West: Dirigo
A East: Windham   B East: Hermon   C East: Piscataquis

100 WINS
Justin Libby (Old Town)
Zac Ragot (Washington Academy)
Andrew Tripp (Massabesic)
Ryan Burgess (Mtn Valley)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quilt honors Winslow coaches

By Scott Monroe smonroe@mainetoday.com 

Staff Writer
WINSLOW -- It started out as a small fundraiser for high school students in the Spanish Club to help pay for a trip to Costa Rica.

click image to enlarge
PRIDE: Teacher Trenton Oliphant, fourth from right, and members of the Winslow Spanish Club hold a quilt filled with autographs and T-shirts from Winslow coaches that will be raffled to raise money for a club trip to Costa Rica. From left are Madeleine Daily, Scott Gilbert, Owen Dutil, Michael McMann, Oliphant, Christine Parrilli, Rachel Pelletier and Molly Schassberger.
Staff photo by David Leaming
COACHES ON THE QUILT
The following current and former Winslow coaches are featured in the Spanish Club quilt. They either donated a coaching T-shirt or autographed a shirt: Deb Albert, Brenda Beckwith, Christine Bertolaccini, Steve Blood, Peter Bolduc, Mary Beth Bourgoin, Robert Browne, Lee Bureau, Dan Camann, Sean Carey, Bruce Chase, Andrew Cyr, David Deas, Beth Fisher, Kevin Fredette, Kevin Giguere, Scott Giroux, Rick Hendsbee, Brian Hutchinson, Sean Keenan, Eric Lachance, Wally LaFountain, Carrie Larrabee, Dave Lindie, Wes Littlefield, Corey Lessard, Lori Loftus, Zach Longyear, Linda McCann, Joanne McKenzie, Kristal Michaud, Tom Nadeau, Jack Nivison, Bob Nixon, Mark Pelletier, Diane Plourde, Jim Poulin, Rod Record, Gene Roy, Mike Siviski, Mike Smith, Trisha Souviney, Bruce Stafford, Melissa Turner, Chuck Underwood, Harold Violette, Robin Weed, Ray Week, Jeff Wickman and Scott Wood.
It's still that, but it's become so much more: a visual testament to Winslow's coaches, past and present, spanning some 60 years.
It's an orange and black quilt, 6.6 feet by 8.2 feet, made of 50 cotton T-shirts, made into 30 blocks, featuring 60 autographs and shirts from local legends of coaching, from 1958 to 2010.
It's called "Raider Pride," in reference to the Black Raiders nickname of Winslow sports teams.
"This thing has really exceeded my biggest expectations," said Trenton Oliphant, a foreign language teacher at Winslow High School who's guiding the club. "It ties in six decades of history."
The Spanish Club's seven students have been planning a trip to Costa Rica for March 24 to April 1, costing an estimated $1,700 per student.
They had tried bake sales, and other events, but wondered what else they could do.
Last summer, Susan Gilbert, a parent of one of the students, offered to make a memorabilia quilt to raffle off. At first, they planned to collect maybe 16 to 20 shirts or so.
They got more than twice that.
"It mushroomed," Gilbert said. "The project was like opening Pandora's box. It became a very emotional, inspiring project, and it wasn't intended to be that."
Gilbert and another student's mother, Janet Pelletier, went about collecting the coaches' shirts, and it was all put together by professional quilter Marcia O'Donnell, of Albion. It was completed in November and is valued at about $600.
Spanish Club students, meanwhile, have been selling raffle tickets for the quilt, mainly by publicly displaying it at different Winslow sporting events. The quilt was on display Saturday night at a home hockey game at the Sukee Arena and $16 worth of raffle tickets were sold.
Among the quilt's squares is an athletic letter and football appliqué from Harold "Tank" Violette's first undefeated season in 1976.
"The quilt turned into a Winslow athletics history, with so many stories, so many people involved," Gilbert said. "It will be a treasure to whoever wins the raffle. Each of the 30 squares, some of which are pieced from multiple shirts, has its own story to tell."
Wally LaFountain, 84, said he was happy to donate a shirt and signature for the quilt. He came to Winslow in 1958 and would go on to coach for nearly 30 years, on and off, for varsity football, baseball and wrestling.
In fact, he started the town's wrestling program when he arrived, and it was among the first programs in the state. LaFountain recalled that the Winslow wrestling team traveled to Dexter, and "it was the first wrestling match in eastern Maine."
These days, he assists with the basketball team.
"There's a unique thing going on here," LaFountain said. "I've been here 52 years with Winslow High School stuff and some schools change coaches every couple of years, and Winslow's had three coaches who've been around 52 years, which is a rarity. There's something to be said for continuity. I'm coaching grandchildren of the people I've had when I first got here."
His granddaughter, Beth Fisher, is also among the coaches; her teams played field hockey and softball.
Jack Nivison, 76, who coached junior high baseball and basketball starting in the '50s and is a former athletic director, said he was humbled to be asked to contribute to the quilt.
"I think it's a great idea for a good cause," he said. "A lot of the kids come through the school system and associate themselves with some of these names on the quilt."
Spanish Club member Owen Dutil, who plays baseball, thinks the quilt has turned out "really cool," because "it's a part of Winslow's history."
And, it's gone beyond a simple fundraiser, Oliphant said: "The quilt represents a lot of local pride and many years of sports tradition in Winslow."
The drawing for the quilt is Feb. 18.
Raffle tickets cost two for $3 and 10 for $10. They can also be purchased by calling Gilbert at 873-9944.
Scott Monroe -- 861-9239