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Harding awarded grant to help fund wrestling program

The Harding wrestling team is looking to raise $18,000 for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

CHESHIRE, September 5 – The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) have awarded six state high schools $21,400 in grants to support schools in providing basic athletic programs and services.

One of the first schools to win a J. Robert Ford Athletic Grants is Bridgeport’s Warren Harding to support the school’s wrestling team. Harding, which has been relying on public donations to fund the program the past two seasons, will use the grant to cover transportation costs.

Harding is looking to raise $18,000 for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Bridgeport Central and CREC will be using the grants to provide and replace outdated football equipment. Parish Hill will be replacing unsafe equipment for its track program. Bristol Central is using the funds for football training equipment designed to enhance player safety. Bloomfield will be purchasing and replacing equipment in three different sports that will help provide a safer and improved practice experience.

The grant program was launched in April. It is supported through generosity of sponsors, which has allowed CAS to establish the CAS Foundation.

The Ford Grant is named in honor of the late J. Robert Ford a long-time coach, basketball official, educator and high school administrator who also worked as the Director of Development for CAS-CIAC. In that role, he was critical in the creation of the CAS Foundation.

Ford, who died in December 2017, was the principal at Ellington High for 16 years (1976-92) and was a long-time high school basketball official in southeastern Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was chair of the CIAC boys basketball committee for 18 years and was director of development for CAS for 16 years (1992-2008).

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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