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Virginia's Patrick Henry CC to add wrestling

"Give me liberty ... and give me collegiate wrestling!"

Patrick Henry Community College -- the school named for the Revolutionary War patriot who uttered a phrase like that more than 200 years ago -- has announced that it will be adding a men's intercollegiate wrestling program.

The Virginia-based, two-year public college has also hired two coaches for the program, slated to begin this fall. Patrick Henry CC has named Justin Smith, the former head wrestling coach at Franklin County High School, has accepted the position as Head Coach of the program. Tim Nininger, the former head wrestling coach at Cave Spring High School, will be Smith's assistant. In the inaugural season, the coaches plan to build the program through local talent.

Both Smith and Nininger have extensive wrestling backgrounds. Before coaching at Franklin County High School, Smith was a NCAA Division I wrestler at Liberty University. Prior to wrestling in college, Smith had a four-year letter-winning career at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Virginia. During his junior year in high school, Smith was a district champion and a state Judo champion at 130 pounds. During his senior year, he earned both honors again despite wrestling up at 145 pounds.

Tim Nininger also experienced success as a competitor and a coach. He won the state title wrestling for Christiansburg High School in Roanoke. After high school, Nininger went to Clemson University where he earned All-American honors wrestling for the Tigers. After college, he became the Head Coach for Cave Spring High School where his team earned multiple state champions and All Americans.

"Together Tim and I have over 20 years of coaching experience and over 40 total years of experience with the sport of wrestling," says Smith. "We have a proven track record of building strong wrestling programs and we are excited to be given the opportunity to do the same at Patrick Henry."

The Patrick Henry Community College wrestling program plans to take to the mat in fall 2020, subject to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic situation at the time.

Founded in 1962, Patrick Henry CC is located in southwestern Virginia. It has a total student enrollment of approximately 2,900. The new men's wrestling program will compete in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association).

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