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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Popular wrestling program a casualty of Eagles' cutback
When Temple Heights moves to K-9, high school sports are out.
By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published May 4, 2006
TAMPA - All along, the Glass family had a plan. When 13-year-old Clark reached the seventh grade, he would enroll at Temple Heights Christian.
As a private school, Temple Heights offered athletes such as Clark, a standout wrestler, the chance to compete at the state level in the seventh and eighth grades, something public schools could not.
"It was his lifelong dream to have that opportunity," said Greg Glass, Clark's father. "He was definitely going there."
Temple Heights, which has offered K-12 for 40 years, announced Tuesday that run will end this coming school year when grades 10 through 12 are cut to save money. The move means an end to the school's high school sports program, which included football, volleyball, cheerleading, wrestling, basketball and softball.
Of those sports, wrestling arguably had the most success. The Eagles, who placed 15th in the Class A meet in February, have produced several standouts in recent years. In fact, many members of the Brandon Wrestling Club have taken advantage of the school's private status to compete against varsity competition at an early age before entering the ninth grade at national power Brandon.
David Craig, a four-time state champion, was one of them.
"Both of my sons went (to Temple Heights) and I would do that again," legendary Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "It was a good program. It was a great alternative for my little kids in a good atmosphere, and it was great for them to be able to compete all the way to the state level as seventh- and eighth-graders.
"For them to have to shut down, it bothers me and I feel sorry for them."
News of Temple Heights' athletic stoppage was met with disappointment among many involved with the Brandon Wrestling Club, Greg Glass said. But those athletes will have at least one alternative.
Tampa Baptist athletic director Natasha Sherwood confirmed Wednesday her school has informed the Florida High School Athletic Association it intends to add wrestling next season. That move came about largely because of Greg Glass, who approached Tampa Baptist with the idea.
"There are three kids who wanted to wrestle at Temple Heights who plan to come (to Tampa Baptist)," Sherwood said.
One of them is Clark Glass.
"One door has closed," Greg Glass said. "But another has opened."