By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
David Trigg participated in three sports at Graham High School from 1982-86, but there was little doubt that wrestling was his favorite.
“It was more of a hand-to-hand, one-on-one sport,” Trigg said. “Whatever you put into it, that is what you get out of it.”
Trigg, who wrestled for four years at Graham under former football coach Doug Marrs, is now sharing his love for wrestling with the youth of the area, having created the Forza Wrestling Club, which is now in its fourth year of existence.
“I wrestled in high school, and I figured I could share what I experienced in high school and start my own club,” said Trigg, who also participated in football and track for the G-Men. “It has picked up every year since we have been doing it. It has increased more and more so I am glad of that.”
Currently, Trigg has 22 participants, ages 5-to-18, who have already been involved in eight meets this season, with many more on the horizon, including this weekend at Poca.
They’re doing quite well, as evidenced by last weekend when Forza participated at the “Fire in the Pit” meet in Ravenswood, finishing third as a team out of 50 clubs involved.
Among the participants last Saturday were first place finishers Gamon Trigg, Austin Wimmer and Shaun Mitchell. Colton Wimmer and Mason Riley — who wrestled eight different matches in two different classes — were third place finishers, while Trey Wimmer and Gavin Hazelwood placed fourth and B.J. Jarvis was fifth in his age and weight class.
Forza has traveled extensively through the wrestling season, having gone as far as Wheeling and Clarksburg in West Virginia, Wytheville, Roanoke and Winchester in Virginia, and placed 13th out of 60 clubs recently in Bristol, Tenn.
“We will keep doing the meets all the way until we run out of meets we can do,” said Trigg, who still gets his kids involved in wrestling camps once the emphasis for some of his participants turns to baseball. “We have already developed a reputation as a hard-nosed wrestling team so far.”
Much like golf, wrestling is an individual sport, in which the results are added up to determine a team score.
“The better my kids place, the better the team standing will be,” said Trigg, who is assisted with the club as a coach by Danny Miller, a former wrestler and football player at Bluefield High School.
Most wrestlers, and Trigg is among them, likes the individual aspect of the sport, in which participants go one-on-one, with no one to help them on the mats.
“That is what I am saying,” said Trigg, who works at Celanese in Giles County, and also has a landscaping business on the side. “To be the best you have got to beat the best so you have to train harder than the rest of your opponents. You have to set little goals to make yourself better.”
It is man vs. man, or girl, since girls are also allowed in the club.
“I had a couple of girls last year that wrestled for me,” Trigg said. “We gave got boys and girls, I don’t care, I am there to help them to set a goal and do better for themselves.
“If we can change one person’s life to feel good about themselves, that is why we do this club.”
Trigg has athletes from both states that participate in Forza, with practice held at Bluefield Middle School with the cooperation of principal Jeff Matthews.
He currently has three 5-year-olds participating, and a home-schooled 18-year-old. His club has helped produce kids for local high schools, including Graham, Bluefield and Princeton.
Trigg has his WVSSAC coaching license for wrestling, and would like the opportunity to coach wrestling at the high school level, perhaps helping to restart the program at PikeView in the near future.
While Tazewell County has long had a youth wrestling program, run by Graham coaches Tim Woodward and Ben Fritz, Trigg said he might be the first to start a program for youth in neighboring Mercer County.
“When I used to go to the school everybody said they wish we had a team so I wanted to help Mercer County,” Trigg said. “Compared to other parts in Virginia and other area of West Virginia, we are way behind around here.
“I hope we can give them a good base to get started, get them to the high school level and hopefully they can compete better with those other wrestlers.”
He has worked with numerous successful local wrestlers, such as Hunter and Dylan Cook from Graham, and others. His primary objective to give them a chance to succeed at the highest level.
“I just want to give the kids what I learned from this sport and hopefully the people I train can do it and hopefully they will become state champions,” Trigg said.
The cost per participant is $25 a month, which is used for entrance fees, travel or other expenses, with everything put into the club going back to the kids, who will benefit from a complete set of instructions.
“I want to teach them the basics and break it down for them, not just defense, but all of it,” Trigg said. “I don’t teach them just one side of the coin, I give both sides to it.
“I just want to them learn and they can take it from there and do the best they can.”
Trigg finds the biggest challenge in finding new wrestlers is what they see on TV, which isn’t what Forza teaches. He also understands the concerns parents have about injuries to their kids, and won’t allow them to participate in meet until ready to do so.
“The biggest problem I have is they think it is TV stuff,” Trigg said. “We don’t stage anything. You wrestler from the heart. Wrestling is the oldest sport known to men.
“We take precautions, but we train the best we can to make sure they don’t get hurt. If they join and aren’t ready then we don’t let them wrestle in meets.”
Just because the current season has been going on for a couple of months, Trigg will take interested wrestlers at anytime.
“I see them doing better if you are doing it all year long if possible,” Trigg said. “That makes them a better wrestler than just being a seasonal wrestler. That is why I keep it open all year long.
“I will take them anytime I am doing it. They are welcome to do it anytime, the door is always open to take new wrestlers.”
Forza will be hosting a Pancake Breakfast on Saturday at Applebee’s in Bluefield, Va., with all proceeds of the $5 cost going to help the club purchase warm-up suits for the wrestlers.
Trigg would like to host local meets as well, but is looking for volunteers to help with what can be a time-consuming task.
“I hope people see what we are doing and they will get a little more involved with what local kids are doing around here,” Trigg said. “Whatever we put in for the kids now will be end up helping them be good adults when they get older.”
For more information on Forza, contact Trigg at (304) 960-5405.
—Contact Brian Woodson at email@example.com