ALTA - The Alta-Aurelia Warriors wrestling team will have a new practice room this year.
Starting with the sharing of athletic programs a few years ago, plans were put in progress to complete a new practice facility for the Warriors and their youth counterparts.
Work on the new wrestling room, located in the old band room at the former Alta High School, was started in late December by varsity coaches Mike Fry, Louie DeRoos, John Stange and Bradley Gustafson, who did all of the labor construction over the ensuing months and completed it towards the end of March.
The process of getting this new room was long and ongoing. Whether it was securing the room after the high school moved, tearing down the old band room, placing a new raised floor, installing new wall mats, laying wrestling mats down, there was "always something else that needed to be done," said coach DeRoos.
With that being said, the Warrior wrestlers (junior high and high school) have been able to use the room since March. However, the final obstacle was achieved just recently, securing the funds for the wall mats surrounding the wrestling room.
During construction, the coaches tried to re-use materials from the demolition of the band room. However, the largest cost surrounding the building was in the purchase of the new materials.
"We used what we could and then the school helped secure new materials," said coach Stange. "The program owes a great thanks to the administration, especially Superintendent Lynn Evans, and the school for their support."
However, there was a red flag still on the horizon, with the high cost of surrounding the room with the wall mats - $4,450. With verbal commitments, the wall mats were ordered and installed. The Edison Mission Energy Corporation north of Alta and employee Jacob Stites provided a generous donation of $1,000.
"Their support and effort to assist the youth, junior high and varsity wrestlers was greatly appreciated and we as a program would like to express a personal thank you to Jacob Stites and the Edison Mission Energy Corporation," said Fry.
After receiving that donation, the remaining funds were held up on the bill as a committed sponsor backed out at the last minute.
"That left us with our backs to the wall and we began to struggle to secure funds to settle the bill, coach Fry added.
The coaches approached the Alta-Aurelia Athletic Booster Club and explained the situation. The Booster Club decided to provide an additional $500 to help with the costs.
"We were sill in the red about $3,000 and began to wonder if if would be able to get the remaining funds raised," Fry said. "We, as coaches, had to brainstorm and came up with a plan."
The plan that resulted was the teaming with the Alta and the Aurelia youth wrestling club, the Junk Yard Dogs, along with the Alta and Aurelia Kiwanis Clubs (long time supporters of the youth wrestling tournaments), to provide the much needed funds for the completion of the new room. Together, these organizations supplied the remaining $3,000 to complete the project.
All the high school coaches are also involved in the youth program as coaches, but long-time youth coach Bob Mikos said it best, "The donation is for a good cause and helps build for their own futures."
All of the coaches express a 'thank you' to everyone involved for their support in making Warrior wrestling the best it can be.