River Valley high schools wrestle to the top

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published March 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 1, 2013 at 12:49 p.m.
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Maumelle finished in first place with a total score of 288.5, putting the team in the top six high schools for Classes 1A-5A in the 2013 High School State Wrestling Tournament, held Feb. 22 and 23 at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Victory was achieved for two high school wrestling teams in the River Valley area in the 2013 High School State Wrestling Tournament, held Feb. 22 and 23 at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Maumelle and Greenbrier high schools both placed in the top six high schools for Classes 1A-5A in the championship.

Maumelle finished in first place with a total score of 288.5, while Greenbrier finished sixth with a score of 114.5.

Ed Viera, head wrestling coach for Maumelle High School, said he is happy about his team doing so well.

“It makes me proud that the kids can see how the work ethic and how difficult our practices were paid off,” Viera said.

Viera’s team has no seniors, so he looks forward to success again next year.

Viera was named Wrestling Coach of the Year in the 1A-5A Division and will coach in the Tournament of Champions in Russellville on Saturday.

“What I think I’m most happy about is the dozens of

compliments from parents of wrestlers from other teams about how well our kids conducted themselves,” Viera said.

This was the first year that Greenbrier’s wrestling team was in place. Greenbrier Athletic Director Stephen Wood said he is pleased with how well the team did at the state level.

“I’m very proud of the accomplishments they made in one year,” Wood said.

School officials had wanted to start a program for several years but didn’t have anyone on staff with a wrestling background.

Craig Noel, who is a AAA-certified volunteer wrestling coach and the head coach for Greenbrier, said he was excited about the team doing so well the first year it was in place.

“We entered eight kids, and five of the eight finished in the top six,” Noel said.

Wood said that with the small team, there were six weight classes in which the Greenbrier team couldn’t compete.

“We beat some of the teams that had a full team,” Wood said.

Although the team is relatively small, Wood said, he is happy with the way Noel and his assistant coach, Jayson Howard, conducted the wrestling program.

“We didn’t have the quantity [of wrestlers], but we’ve got the quality,” Wood said.

Right now, the Greenbrier team practices off-campus in a warehouse that has a gym, Noel said.

With the success of the first year, Noel said, he expects the Greenbrier program to grow in the coming years.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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