Asked to share a few words, Kolton Clark went down the list thanking people who had helped him reach this moment.
He then got emotional when he spoke of his dad, Lamar.
“Me and dad, ever since I was a kid, traveling back and forth to Birmingham, Atlanta, to get practices in,” Clark said. “It’s been a journey.”
That journey has led the three-time Scottsboro state champion wrestler to a new level, as Clark signed Wednesday to continue his wrestling career at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Clark chose Virginia Tech over offers from Appalachian State, UTC and Arkansas-Little Rock.
“[Virginia Tech] were a little late showing any interest, but after I did really well at a big national tournament [Super 32 Nationals], that sparked their interest. I took a visit and I loved every aspect of it,” Clark said.
Clark is Scottsboro’s first Division I wrestling signee since Brandon Womack signed with Cornell in 2014.
“Proud for him to have the opportunity to wrestle at the next level,” said Scottsboro head coach Chris Staton. “Looking forward to watching him and following him, seeing how he does. He’s put the work in. He represented himself well, his school well, his family well. Just happy to see all he’s accomplished and looking forward to seeing all he still can accomplish.”
Clark had many accomplishments during his high school career. He was a three-time state champion, a four-time state finalist and a six-time state medalist. He won the Class 6A 126-pound weight class state championship as a freshman in 2016, then won the Class 1A-5A 170-pound state title as a junior in 2018 and the 1A-5A 182-pound state championship as a senior. He was the 1A-5A 145-pound runner-up as a sophomore while placing third as seventh-grader (5A 113-pound weight class) and fourth as an eighth-grader (6A 126-pound weight class).
Clark also won all four of his matches while helping Scottsboro win four duals en route to claiming the 2019 Class 1A-5A Duals State Championship.
Clark finished his Scottsboro career with an overall record of 268-54. He was 171-11 the past four seasons.
Clark has also wrestled in some elite national tournaments, earning All-American honors at the National Coaches Association Championships, the Super 32 Nationals and the Disney Duals.
“My high school career has been a great experience,” Clark said. “Wouldn’t change my coaches, [and] love my teammates.”
Clark, who plans to major in business or engineering, reports to Virginia Tech in July and expects to wrestle in the 174-pound range as a freshman.
“It’s going to be a big difference,” Clark said of wrestling at the collegiate level. “It’s going to be a new experience. Just got to work hard and push through it.”