Evan Clark (left) and Josh Stapleton (right) are shown with Coaches Kasey Hanley and Forrest Gardiner.

Banks County High School graduates Evan Clark and Josh Stapleton will continue their wrestling careers in college.

Clark will attend D1 Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.

Clark chose the school for multiple reasons, including the leadership of the school’s coach, Mark Cody, and the proximity to his hometown of Banks County.

“My new coach just made me feel like I could contribute to the program," Clark said. "I have already done some pre-workout stuff with the team this summer, and even though it is a huge jump from Banks County, I am ready for the challenge."

Clark stated that having the foundation learned under Coach Hanley at BCHS has given him a huge advantage going into the program.

According to Hanley, Clark is like a “diamond in the rough.”

“Evan has been one of the most progressed wrestlers I have ever coached," Hanley said. "He started wrestling late, but he ended up being a two-time state finalist. It has been incredible to watch his journey, and I am confident he will continue that in college. He has everything he needs to make it happen.”

Stapleton will attend Truett McConnell in Cleveland, Georgia.

Stapleton chose Truett because of the multiple degrees that the school offers, and it is a Christian school close to Stapleton’s heart.

“I love that it is a Christian school because it has the values that I have been raised with, and the fact that it is a small school and close to home was an added bonus," he said.

Stapleton will be under the leadership of Coach Patrick James and hopes to be wrestling in the 184-197 weight class.

Stapleton would like to major in the medical field and credits BCHS's human anatomy teacher Dean Goodwin for giving him insight into that field.

Stapleton will be the first of five siblings to head to college immediately after high school.

“Josh is a great kid with an incredible work ethic," Hanley said. "He is like a freight train, and that drive is going to help him tremendously in college. I am excited to follow his progress in college."

The Banks County community looks forward to following these two men as they carry the Leopard tradition into college and beyond.


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