Note: The following letter was sent to the Editor of the Journal for PG County, Maryland, on June 11, 1999.

Proposal to Drop Wrestling is Bad Idea

This is an open letter to both the Athletic Directors in PG County and members of the Board of Education.

1999 Club State Champion Southern Maryland Wrestling Club has been a major force in PG wrestling for almost 20 years. Not only has SMWC won 19 major national club championships, but since 1991, 51 athletes from PG County have received college wrestling scholarships through the efforts of this club. Many of these scholarships have been to Division I programs. SMWC is the primary source of county champions that are successful at the state level, and is also the main source of national level wrestlers who attend DeMatha each year.

SMWC sponsors a very large youth team that was this year's Capital Area Wrestling League Champions. The CAWL is the strongest conference in the DC metropolitan region that includes Northern Virginia, plus Charles, Howard, and Montgomery Counties. Bowie also has a very large youth program practicing at 3 different schools in that city. Upper Marlboro B&G club has a very large youth team that practices at Frederick Douglass during the winter months. As you can tell, wrestling is doing well and we have a lot to be proud of in the sport, particularly in this county.

A proposal to remove wrestling as a sport really slaps a large number of people in this area in the face. Doesn't anyone realize how big wrestling is around here. Wrestling is the only sport where many kids, all sizes and shapes, can participate on an equal basis. I suggest you seriously consider any proposal that prevents so many from participating in the sport they love.

Bruce Gabrielson
Head Coach, Southern Maryland Wrestling Club