The Meramec Valley School District will add junior high wrestling to its athletic program beginning with the new school year starting Aug. 15.

The wrestling season runs Oct. 28 through Dec. 19.

The program would be offered through the activities department and under Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) guidelines.

The school board approved the addition to the district activities at its July 17 board meeting.

Wrestling will be offered to students in the seventh and eighth grades. Between 10 and 15 students are expected to participate in the program.

According to a report by Andy Herbst, activities director, wrestlers could expect to participate in two to four meets and one to two tournaments. Meramec Valley would like to host at least one meet.

Owensville, St. James and Sullivan have junior high wrestling programs, as do De Soto, Potosi, Hillsboro and North St. Louis County.

The junior high wrestlers will practice after school at the high school, however they will not wrestle high school wrestlers.

MSHSAA bylaws allow junior high athletes to practice in the same area as high school athletes, but they are not allowed to wrestle each other, even though they might be in the same weight range.

No new staff would be added for the program. The current high school wrestling coaches will help coach the junior high wrestlers. Keith Orris, freshman wrestling coach, will cover meets and tournaments.

Cost for the program would be $300 for tournaments, $1,200 for transportation and $200 for officials for home meets.

“The program will provide another opportunity for students to be involved in a school program,” said Superintendent Randy George.