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Fike takes over as Eagles’ head wrestling coach

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By Melanie Schumilas

Scott Fike always had a knack for coaching, even when he was still actively competing in high school and college.

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“Coaching is always been something I’ve done and wanted to do... I don’t really know anything different” Fike said. “When I was at Bridgewater (College) wrestling, I was helping with Turner Abby High School. Even when I was in high school, I’d come in and help with the little kids and do some camps.”

Fike was a four-year varsity standout on Staunton River’s wrestling team. He enjoyed great personal success as a multiple Conference 31 and 3A West Region champion. He also was part of the beginning of powerhouse program spearheaded by Ron Long, arguably the most successful wrestling coach SR’s had.

In June, Long passed the proverbial torch to his former player.

“Coach Long is a great guy, a great coach, and someone I really looked up to,” said Fike. “What he really wanted was for me to come in here and take this program to a level that he always wanted to, but wasn’t able to do. I’ll definitely push to take this program to new heights and  make this one of the top programs in the State.”

Fike comes to Staunton River after coaching four seasons at wrestling powerhouse Cave Spring, who were three-time State runner-ups during his tenure.

Although it was difficult to leave such a successful Cave Spring program, Fike thought rejoining his former high school was the right fit.

“When I got the (job) opportunity, I thought, ‘Wow, I get to go back to where I wrestled. I get to build the program that helped build me.’ That’s a really cool aspect,” Fike said.

With a wealth of experience and success to his name, Fike has wasted no time in taking the first steps to build the Eagles into a top-tier wrestling program.

For the past three weeks, Fike has been holding open mat sessions. So far, he’s been impressed with the turnout and dedication to the sport.

While the open mat sessions are currently suspended due to the VHSL “dead period,” Fike says once they are allowed to practice again, he’ll be incorporating weight lifting in with the daily practices.

“I’m going to push the kids who aren’t playing other sports to be in the wrestling gym year round, weightlifting and continuing to lift during the season,” said Fike, who places great emphasis on offseason preparations. “The weightlifting helps in multiple ways... It helps the kids get stronger and prevents injuries.”

After meeting his new wrestlers, Fike has taken into account some of their wishes.

Fike is working on a preseason/regular season schedule that will require his team to travel a lot, an idea that has been met with a lot of enthusiasm from his wrestlers.

“We’re going to be traveling more to out of state tournaments so they can see a different level of competition and see better kids on a daily basis,” explained Fike.

Traveling to more competitive tournaments also means more exposure for wrestlers who are interested in competing at the college level.

“Those are some things I’ve talked to the kids about implementing and they’re really excited,” said Fike. “The traveling aspect will be a whole new experience for them. They’ll get to go to a bunch of different tournaments and look up in the stands and see a bunch of college coaches watching them.”

Introducing a myriad of new changes to high schoolers can be difficult, but Fike noted that, so far, the transition has gone smoothly.

“It’s been great,” said Fike. “They’ve really accepted me and they’ve really ran with a lot of the new things I’ve introduced. I definitely feel it’s been really good for everyone because the kids have bought in.”

With his wrestlers onboard, Fike has already established a clear set of goals for his inaugural season.

“We want to be a highly competitive team week-in and week-out,” said Fike. “We want to win the (Blue Ridge) District and compete in the region. My ultimate goal is to get six or seven kids in the State tournament this year.”

While many coaches may be daunted by the task of rebuilding a team to compete with the likes of 16-time State champions Christianburg, Fike embraces the challenge.

It’s evident that Fike’s passion for coaching equips him to take on any test and is the fundamental cause behind his previous success. Fike hopes his dedicated coaching style brings the best out of his wrestlers, both individually and collectively.

“I just love helping build kids up, getting them to the next level and seeing kids have success,” said Fike. “You preach to the kids that they’ve got to put in the work and be dedicated in the offseason to see the results, so when those kids start seeing the results and it starts clicking, that’s really rewarding to the coach.”