Jacksonville Children’s Foundation Provides Grant for H.S. Wrestling Competition Mat

By Benjamin Cox on February 29, 2024 at 9:41am

A photo of the 2023-24 JHS Senior wrestlers on JHS's lone competion mat.

The Jacksonville Chidlren’s Foundation was recognized by Jacksonville School District 117’s Board of Education last Wednesnay night for a grant to the district’s high school wrestling program.

The foundation recently donated over $9,400 to Jacksonville High School’s wrestling program to purchase a competition wrestling mat. Jacksonville High School only has one mat. In most competitions, two mats are used to keep the meets rolling efficiently and timely. Currently, the high school has to borrow mats from Jacksonville Middle School or the Jacksonville wrestling club for meets. Sometimes the mats are unavailable, making for longer meets. The District’s Athletic Department reported that a match earlier this year did not end until 10PM on a school night due to the lack of available competition mats.

Athletic Director Ryan Van Aken says the donation will make meets run much smoother: “If we have a regular double dual match, so 3 teams come in to wrestle, we would like to have two mats going at once. Sometimes it’s not always the case for us to be able to get that extra mat because they are held up by other teams. Head Wrestling Coach Dustin Secrist put in for a grant, and we were fortunate enough with the Jacksonville Children’s Foundation to grant us a hefty sum of money to buy our second competition wrestling mat. It is going to tremendously help us for our dual wrestling meets at home. Not to mention, it’s going to help JMS as well and the wrestling club when we host these big tournaments that come in – sometimes at the high school, The Bowl, and sometimes at JMS. We are very thankful, and it’s going to be good for all.”

The mat will be part of the wrestling program at the start of next season.