The news of the International Olympic Committee's decision to drop wrestling from the 2020 games is hitting hard among the high schools ranks.
High school wrestlers no longer have the dream of being an Olympian, while coaches wonder how they'll be able to continue to motivate their young athletes to pursue the goal of being the best in the world.
"It's disappointing, when you're training kids to get to the pinnacle of their career, and you tell them there's no wrestling in 2020," said Omar Feliciano, head wrestling coach at St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
, traditionally one of the nation's top programs.
Feliciano said that he found out via Twitter, and that the news was stunning.
"Emotionally, it's a shocker," he said. "It's unbelievable. I wouldn't know why they'd want to cut wrestling. It's something that's hard to believe."
The decision has also caused disbelief and disappointment among the wrestlers themselves.St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
head coach Omar Delgado, who coaches a trio of potential future Olympians, said his wrestlers were crushed by the news.
"They heartbroken right now. They are in a daze. These are truly kids who were thinking Olympics," Delgado told the Press Telegram
Without the Olympics, the World Championships would become the highest level of international competition in the sport.
Still, it's not quite the same.
"At the World Championships, you're representing your country and still have to try out to participate. But Olympics are just a little more weight on it because it doesn't happen every year," Feliciano said.
One positive takeaway from the news is that it could galvanize the wrestling community, bringing an already tight-knit group even closer together.
"Right now, if a multimillionaire wants to give money to wrestling, he'd have [college wrestling], the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Hall of Fame or the National Wrestling Coaches Association to choose from," Easton (Pa.)
head coach Steve Powell told Lehigh's The Morning Call
. "Maybe this will bring the people, and the money, together to fight this."