THS wrestler signs with Virginia Tech

THS wrestling coach Shawn Weltzin, left, with longtime THS wrestler and two-time individual state champion Dom Latona, who will continue his wrestling career at Virginia Tech. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

THS wrestling coach Shawn Weltzin, left, with longtime THS wrestler and two-time individual state champion Dom Latona, who will continue his wrestling career at Virginia Tech. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – When Thompson High School established its wrestling program several years ago, head coach Shawn Weltzin remembers Virginia Tech’s early involvement in the program’s camps. On May 4, Weltzin saw the school’s connection with Virginia Tech come full-circle.

“It’s good to finally have someone going there,” Weltzin said.

Surrounded by family, teammates, coaches and supporters, longtime THS wrestler and two-time individual state champion Dom Latona signed a scholarship with the Virginia Tech Hokies on May 4 during a ceremony at Alabaster’s Buck’s Pizza.

After seeing much success on the mat during his middle and high school wrestling tenures, Latona will look to add to his accomplishments at one of the strongest collegiate wrestling programs in the nation.

“Virginia Tech, they came in fourth in the country last year and they really have a good thing going up there. I just think that’s a place where I can be successful in college,” Latona said. “I think Virginia Tech was the best opportunity for me to go do something big. I’m just excited to get up there.

“There are so many people who helped me. My coaches, my parents put in countless hours into helping me be successful,” he added.

After graduating from THS this month, Latona said he is planning to begin training with the Hokies’ program this summer.

“I’m going up there some this summer to train and to run some of their camps,” Latona said. “When I went up there and saw their facilities and saw everything, that was definitely what helped me make the decision.

Weltzin praised Latona for his dedication and development during his time with the wrestling program.

“He’s been part of the program forever. I remember when he was under 100 pounds as a seventh grader, and I was like ‘Just roll over and don’t get hurt,’’ Weltzin said. “Coming from that to winning state twice, he’s really developed in the program.

“I’m just glad that we have kids in the program that want to further their career and pursue this in college,” Weltzin added. “That says a lot about the program that they develop the skills and the life lessons and the love for the sport.”