By: Adam Dodson
When Mondell Hunter moved from Kentucky back to his hometown of Athens, he had a vision of mirroring the success he found in The Bluegrass State with making a difference in the youth of the community through wrestling.
As his North Alabama Elite Wrestling program continues to grow on a yearly basis, so does his impact on the youth of the 256, the wrestling community, and the growth of wrestling at his alma mater – Athens High School.
According to Coach Hunter, what started with as a smaller group of participants local to Athens has branched out year-by-year to cover multiple portions of the 256, as well as across the state border into Tennessee.
“We have more kids – probably 65, 70 kids. We have kids on the waiting list, (parents) saying, ‘Hey, we want to join.’ A lot of people are saying, ‘Can we work with you all in the summer?’”
Coach Hunter was the everyday wrestling partner for Athens High’s current wrestling head coach, Andrew Campbell, during their time together in high school competing in the Golden Eagles program.
“Having that relationship with Andrew – he told me the reason he is into coaching is because of how hard I used to push him in practice,” Coach Hunter said, who was twice a State champion during his run at Athens High. “He makes a lot of sacrifices for us – he stays around, makes sure stuff is open for us. There’s not too many things we have asked for where he has told us, ‘No.’”
In a previous interview with 256 Sports Radio, Coach Campbell emphasized his trust in Coach Hunter in running youth wrestling programs that directly benefit the quality of talent he puts on the mat for the high school level, where State championships are on the line.
“He’s crushing it. It’s a kind of family thing, because we have this big wrestling family that grew up together that has been doing it for years now,” Coach Campbell said.
However, the motivation for both Coaches Hunter and Campbell goes beyond the mat and into the real world – where manners, respect, and hard work can get an individual far in life.
“We try to teach good sportsmanship,” Coach Hunter said. “Be that same person in the mat room that you want to be in the community. We have more than wrestling to offer.”
Congratulations to Mondell Hunter, North Alabama Elite Wrestling, and Athens High School for aligning in a way that can impact the youth of the community on a daily basis.
To find out more about North Alabama Elite Wrestling, visit their website at naelitewrestling.com.
– Adam Dodson is the founder of 256 Sports Radio, which focuses on podcasts, radio shows, articles, & highlight tapes of the talented athletes & coaches of the Northern Alabama area. 256 Sports Radio can be found on their three major platforms of Spotify, Facebook, & Instagram.
By: Adam Dodson – 256 Sports Radio