CRAWLEY (WVDN) – One of the best kept secrets in western Greenbrier County prep sports has been the wrestling program at Western Greenbrier Middle School. Middle school and junior high sports just don’t receive the publicity of their high school counterparts. That anonymity should suit new WGMS wrestling coach Colten Dorsey just fine.
Dorsey, a 2019 graduate of Greenbrier West High School, was quietly a steady force on the Greenbrier West wrestling team from 2016-2019. He finished sixth at 182 pounds for the Cavaliers in the 2018 West Virginia High School State Wrestling Tournament.
Long before he hit the high school ranks, Dorsey was a major factor in the success of the WGMS wrestling program. Lacking a state tournament, middle school success was usually measured by the prestigious WSAZ Invitational in Huntington. Dorsey placed third at 128 pounds in 2015 and helped the Timberwolves tie for a fourth-place team finish with Milton Middle School. The Z’s, as they are affectionately known, award the top eight individual finishers in each weight class. The tournament annually attracts well over 50 middle school teams from across the state of West Virginia as well as teams from other states. There were 51 schools in the Z’s that season.
A WSAZ title is a middle school wrestler’s state championship. A podium finish is likened to an all-state selection in high school. Dorsey proved his ability in the Z’s, as well as many other unsanctioned events, early in his career. He won the 70-pound division for 6-year-olds at the Cliff Keen Eastern World Championships in 2008. Dorsey was also the state runner-up at 125 pounds in the 13-15 age group at the 2015 West Virginia Junior State Wrestling Championships.
Dorsey, dubbed “Coltrain” in his first year of C-team football, was terrified of the contact at first. When the team started hitting in practice, Dorsey got leveled and immediately headed to the sidelines in tears. Assistant coach Donald Currence asked Dorsey’s father if he really wanted him to quit. The answer was no, and his father, J.R. Dorsey, explained that he needed to stick around and give it a try. Dorsey apologized to his coaches, Currence and Bob Patton, and after a few weeks of seasoning, was given his nickname. It sticks to this day.
As so often happens in life, with the ups come the downs. Dorsey sustained a concussion in an eighth-grade football game at Princeton. Dorsey continued to wrestle but sat out of football his nineth and 10th-grade seasons. He sustained a leg injury during his senior year of football, and the effects lingered through his senior wrestling season.
After graduation, Dorsey joined the West Virginia Air National Guard. Upon completion of an 8 1/2week basic training at Fort Sams, San Antonio, Dorsey went to med school for 16 weeks. On the civilian side, his training equated to that of an EMT. In the Air Force, his training equated to that of an LPN. That regimen was followed up with a 4-week stint at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, working in the hospital for clinical experience. Dorsey came home in August of 2020 and enrolled at WVU Tech for the spring 2021 semester, completing general education courses with his eye on nursing.
Although Dorsey has focused most of his postsecondary education on the nursing field, he said he’s always had the itch to coach.
“Coaching was always the goal since my junior year. That’s when I knew I wanted to coach.”
Andy Evans, the former head coach at WGMS, reached out to Dorsey after taking a promotion with the West Virginia State Police. Dorsey jumped at the opportunity. Dorsey was scheduled to complete nursing school in December, so he surmised there’d only be a 1-month overlap with the current wrestling season. Dorsey successfully completed the WVSSAC coaching accreditation course and was hired by the Greenbrier County Board of Education in October 2022.
Western Greenbrier had an established tradition of excellence before and during Dorsey’s time in the program. The Timberwolves’ results at the WSAZ tournament over the span of 2006-2015 was an average finish of sixth place. Only Class AAA-feeder schools, Edison, Milton, Blennerhassett, Point Pleasant and Ripley averaged a higher cumulative placement than the Timberwolves. That’s not bad for a Class A-level feeder program.
Mark Gray led the program through that time period and has been an instant source of all things wrestling for the new head coach.
“Mark Gray has been a big help in answering questions, dealing with kids and handling situations. He still sees the kids every day at WGMS. That’s a huge advantage that I don’t have. Being with the kids in school helps with attendance, grades and their well-being,” Dorsey said.
Even with that established tradition, the road was tough for Dorsey in the beginning.
“We only had six kids the first day. I had to do some recruiting. I used the things I learned and highlighted the success of the program. It develops a winning attitude in life. We have successful young men in the world today that came through this program. Dustin Yoakum is about to become a dentist. Marquis Frazier has an administrative position with UPS. Tryston Kessler, Josh Spurlock — the list goes on and on. They’ll develop the right habits here, if they’ll come out.”
By all accounts, the early results are positive.
“The first month was a grind in the room, because you don’t have matches. The matches are the fun part. We’ve wrestled well. I have three wrestlers from youth league, and the rest are first- and second-year wrestlers. We have 12 total. Our first tournament was at Eastern Greenbrier, and we finished fourth. We then went to Woodrow Wilson and only lost our pool by criteria. We finished sixth, but we were in the mix. The Fallen Heroes tournament at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center was next, and we got big eyes on the big stage. Only two individuals placed.”
Dorsey loves his team, though, and was quick to tout their accomplishments.
“Colton Caruthers has stepped up to be a reliable kid in the room. I’m very proud of him. We got him down to 190 pounds this week, down from 215. I think he can make a lot of noise in this weight class. Jacob Mooney is just an extraordinary first-year guy. He’s done everything asked of him. I foresee a lot of success in his future. His grades are spectacular, and he’s well-mannered. He sets the pace in our room. He’s wrestling at 116 pounds.”
Dorsey credits his family and the local wrestling community from the past for the opportunity and success he’s enjoying.
“I’m 22 years old and trying to figure out things. I want to help the younger kids rely on me the way I relied on you guys. I rely on them as well!” he said.
Dorsey also recognized his father. “I want to thank my dad for always having my back.”
Dorsey’s father, J.R. Dorsey, spoke with mutual pride when talking about his son.
As long as Western wrestling rides the Coltrain, the destination will be success.
The Timberwolves travel to Fayetteville on Saturday for the Lions Club Duals. Wrestling takes place the Fayetteville Soldier and Sailor’s Memorial Building.
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