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Bluefield College adds wrestling, hires Waelti as coach

Bluefield College will be adding wrestling as a club sport this fall, and has hired Jason Waelti as the program's first coach, the school located in Virginia announced Tuesday.

Waelti is a familiar figure in the sport in southwestern Virginia, having wrestled at the club level at Virginia Tech, then staying in Blacksburg after graduation to serve as principal and head wrestling coach at Blacksburg High School. He is now the coach of the Blacksburg Wrestling Club.

Jason Waelti's wrestling roots run deep within the commonwealth of Virginia. His father Mike Waelti introduced Jason to the sport at age five. Jason Waelti went on to be a four-year starter for William Byrd High School where he was an All-State wrestler, Region and District champion, and achieved the program's single season and all-time pin records. He was named All-Timesland Wrestler of the Year at his weight, and was a captain of the team.

Jason Waelti then went on to compete at the wrestling club at Virginia Tech in the NCWA (National Collegiate Wrestling Association), placing third in the MAC Conference and qualifying for Nationals, according to the Bluefield College press statement.

After graduating from Virginia Tech, Waelti was interim head coach for the school's Club Wrestling Team. During that time, the club qualified three wrestlers for the NCWA National Tournament, a first for the program.

Later, Waelti became head wrestling coach at Blacksburg High School, leading the Bruins to their first top ten finishes at the Virginia State Wrestling Tournament. Blacksburg placed sixth with a roster of only eight wrestlers, and eighth in the state with a roster of only six wrestlers. He has coached 10 All-State wrestlers, including a state champion, state runner-up, and two third place winners, as well as two nationally ranked wrestlers in the Beast of the East, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country.

With Waelti at the helm, wrestling at Bluefield College will begin as a club program starting in fall 2017. According to the school, after a couple years, the club will transition to a varsity program slated to compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference and the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). The school also have plans to start a women's program shortly after that, WVVA-TV reported Tuesday.

"I'm familiar with the area," Waelti told WVVA. "I know a lot of the kids and I know a lot of the coaches already. Even though we are behind I feel like we are ahead in a lot of ways."

Located straight west of Blacksburg on the Virginia-West Virginia border in southwest Virginia, Bluefield College is a four-year, private college affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Virginia. Founded in 1922, Bluefield College has approximately 920 students.

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