Littleton High School students will have the opportunity to compete as part of the Nashoba Valley Technical High School wrestling team this season. Excitement and anticipation are growing in the Littleton and the Nashoba Tech wrestling community.
Littleton joins successful high school wrestling program
Nashoba Tech, now in its third-year, is coming off a noteworthy 2017 season with seven individual champions and a team championship in the Colonial Athletic League Wrestling tournament. Nashoba Tech’s head wrestling coach Bill Corr sees the Littleton Cooperative as an opportunity for growth. “It is a natural fit for us as many Littleton kids already attend Nashoba tech,” said coach Corr, referring to the fact that Nashoba Tech serves eight towns: Ayer, Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, and Westford.
Littleton High School as a history of champions
Littleton High School has a history of wrestling achievements including 7 sectional championships, 3 by school record holder Greg Bottenhorn. Bottenhorn also holds school records for regular season tournament wins with 13, career wins with 96 and was a state championship finalist. Bottenhorn says of the coop, “I am proud of Littleton’s wrestling accomplishments and see the cooperative as an opportunity to bring wrestling back to Littleton High School. Together with a successful youth program, the future is bright.”
Other noteworthy past Littleton wrestlers include Mitch Pindara, Brian Crory, Michael Wilson, Jeremy Rivas, Eric Rivas, Steve Partridge, and Eric Bottenhorn. Student-Athletes at Littleton High School will have their first chance to compete in High School wrestling since 1996. At that time, the town canceled its wrestling program due to a significant number of graduating wrestlers and some others not being able to return.
Littleton has an active youth wrestling program
Littleton wrestling began the trek back in 2011 when three-time New England Collegiate Champion, two-time NCAA Regional Champion, and collegiate all-American wrestler James Kennedy started Littleton Youth Wrestling. The program has trained over 150 wrestlers and enjoys growing community support. “Littleton Youth wrestling has had many success stories in its Kindergarten through fourth-grade division with team and individual champions at the Massachusetts State and New England Wrestling Championship Tournaments,” said coach Kennedy
According to Kennedy most of the program’s wrestlers are under 10 years old because without a high school program he had difficulty recruiting and keeping middle school kids. “With all the other options, why would an athlete sign up for the sport of wrestling if there is no opportunity to participate in high school,” said Kennedy. Interest from middle school students is just is not as keen without a high school program. Greg Bottenhorn has joined Kennedy as a Littleton Youth Wrestling coach.
The future of wrestling
Coach Kennedy sees cooperatives as an excellent opportunity for the sport of wrestling. “Interest in wrestling as a youth sport has slowed down statewide” according to Kennedy who also serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Youth Wrestling Association, which runs state-wide youth wrestling tournaments. “Last year the youth wrestling association went from hosting three sectional tournaments to hosting two because participation numbers were low,” said Kennedy, “I am hopeful that cooperative agreements like this become more frequent in Massachusetts as this is what is needed to revive the sport of wrestling.”
Cooperative agreements for sports programs are typical for small towns like Littleton where the school population is low, and there is a lot of competition with other sports. In fact, Littleton High School currently has a similar cooperative agreement in girls’ and boys’ rowing with Westford Academy. In swimming and hockey, LHS is in a co-op with Bromfield. In girls’ ice hockey, LHS is in a co-op with Westford Academy.
Cooperatives give students more choices when it comes to athletic programs, providing opportunities for students with different athletic strengths. As for Littleton’s youth wrestling program “Our students just want to have the chance to wrestle in high school and beyond. This partnership provides that opportunity,” said Kennedy. It’s yet to be determined precisely how many Littleton students will take advantage of the cooperative this year, but Kennedy said once the word is out he believes interest will snowball quickly.
Not in High School yet? Sign up for Littleton Youth Wrestling
Have more questions about the Littleton HS / Nashoba Tech Coop? Read our FAQs to learn about the Littleton Nashoba Tech Cooperative Agreement.