By Vern Hee
In November, the Tonopah Muckers came close to losing their wrestling program. This year Round Mountain will not have a wrestling program and Beatty has not had one in some years. For small, remote high schools, fielding sports programs can be a problem.
Tonopah wrestling was reprieved by Dale Norton, Superintendent of Nye County schools, at the last minute when he added a new probation rule.
Jacob Topholm, athletic director at Round Mountain, was very pleased with the recent decision by Norton to put Tonopah’s wrestling on a one-year probation.
“Absolutely, this was a good idea. As athletic director, I believe that the more extra-curricular stuff we have, the better. This is good, because hopefully next year they will bring up their numbers. Next year we are going to offer wrestling and hopefully we get the numbers, too,” remarked Topholm.
Norton said he will ask a committee to review the probation policy and possibly adjust the current number of 10 wrestlers. Topholm, like Duffy Otteson, head Tonopah wrestling coach, believes the number 10 is too high.
“This is a tough number for a small school like Round Mountain and Tonopah to make. We are talking about an individual sport that we are requiring a double figure number for.
At the end of the school year we usually have a meeting with all the ADs in Nye County. So if it is not brought up during the year, I will bring it up at this meeting,” he said.
Topholm said part of his problem in athletics is getting kids to express an interest and come out for the sport.
“We have plenty of kids; our enrollment is steady but we just have lack of interest. We have enough students out here, they just do not want to do anything. I know for a fact that right now I have 25 boys walking the halls that do not want to do anything,” he remarked.
Small schools in the remote places of Nye County also have a coaching shortage.
“Another problem I have besides interest is, coaches. I had a wrestling coach that moved and another that retired. So then I advertised for it and I got no interest for it. This is definitely a problem in small communities, getting people to coach. I do three sports out here. I coach middle school football, varsity boys basketball and varsity boys baseball and I am the AD. I have been coaching for 14 years. For my sports, we always have numbers. If I have numbers, I will always find a coach,” said the athletic director.
Leo Verzilli, Beatty High School athletic director and coach, agrees. He also coaches three sports and he is the athletic director.
“A lot of teachers have been there done that or are burned out. They don’t even want to assist anymore. Then if someone wants to help, they have to jump through so many hoops they just say, forget it. I know it’s for protecting students and the district, but a lot of guys just want to help and don’t even care if they get paid. Both sides are right, so you just go it alone or hope to get someone that will do all the paperwork, take all the classes and still want to help,” he said.
According to Nye County School District records:
Round Mountain Junior and Senior High — 134 students,
Beatty High School — 114 students
Tonopah High School — 152 students
Tonopah plays girls volleyball, basketball, track and softball. Boys play, golf, football, track, wrestling, basketball and baseball. At Beatty, girls play, volleyball, basketball, and track. Boys play football, basketball, baseball and track. At Round Mountain, girls play volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, track. Boys play, football, golf, track, basketball, and baseball.