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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • Five Questions: Coach Matt Smith talks shop

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  • Q: What motivates you as a coach?
    A: There are people out there willing to do what it takes to be successful. They simply need someone to guide them in the right direction. I feel I can make that difference. I coach because I get to see the steady progression of where someone begins to where they end up. Knowing I have a small part in that development drives me.
    Q: How would you grade your team's performance this season (No.4 finish in AAA)?
    A: The main goal is to win the State Tournament. While the team fell short of this goal, they worked hard toward it and met several other goals over the course of the season.
    We were able to defeat Parkersburg South in a dual for the first time in our history, had two state champions, had five finalists, had six placers and finished a very respectable fourth in a tough AAA field.
    I'm very proud of what they were able to accomplish and what the future holds for Viking Wrestling.
    Q: You have developed a winning culture within Ripley's wrestling program. What factors do you believe make a winning program in any sport?
    A: Many factors go into a winning program, but it starts with one concept: The team and every individual needs to put in the work and needs to believe. The two build off of each other and set up success.
    Q: As a former State Champion yourself in 2002, what does it mean to you when one of your grapplers joins that fraternity?
    A: Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something you've worked hard at to achieve. I know in that moment right after they've won that they know all the setbacks, all the grueling workouts, and all the sacrifices are worth it.
    Q: What can we expect from your program in the future?
    A: The only thing I can say for certain is that our team will continue working toward our goals and will do our best to outwork everyone else to get there.

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