As the University of Arkansas at Little Rock continues to inch closer to its inaugural season of Division I wrestling this fall, the Trojans will have an additional resource to help tell its story.
Little Rock Wrestling has teamed up with MatTalk Online, founded by Jason Bryant, to help produce the Rocked Up podcast, a serialized, storytelling format which will serve a dual purpose. The series will tell more than just the story of how wrestling came to Little Rock, but will outline how the sport surfaced in Arkansas and why building the sport at the high school level was crucial to the addition of the sport on the Little Rock campus.
Season one of the podcast will include 12 episodes released every two to three weeks leading up to the start of the wrestling season in November. Those podcasts are available at GetRockedUp.com, MatTalkOnline.com, and through the link on the wrestling home page at LRTrojans.com. The first two episodes of the series, “Where the Journey Begins” (episode one) and “The Chicken or the Egg” (episode two) are currently available.
“Little Rock is unique in the aspect that while it’s not the first state school to add or reinstate a Division I wrestling program in recent memory, it is the first to do it in a state that didn’t even have high school wrestling not that long ago,” Bryant said. “The story isn’t just about the school, but about the entire wrestling community and how Little Rock is now poised to truly be a flagship institution for a sport within Arkansas.”
Bryant, president of the National Wrestling Media Association and an 11-time Wrestling Journalism and Broadcasting Award winner, visited Little Rock in December 2018 to record much of the audio footage for the program. Those interviews encompassed a wide range of specialization – everything from Little Rock athletic and university administrators to community leaders and Little Rock sports media personalities, giving insight to the unique opportunity wrestling will play in Arkansas.
“I am very excited about partnering with Mat Talk Online and Jason Bryant on this fantastic podcast,” said Little Rock head coach Neil Erisman. “To understand the significance of our program, it is important to know the history and culture of wrestling. This is what season one of Rocked Up is all about. I believe the story behind it embodies who we are, the direction we are already going and what being ‘Rocked Up’ is really all about. The story is fascinating and will leave listeners wanting to know more as we lead up to the Trojans stepping on the mat for the first time.”
The idea for the podcast came in a meeting of the minds between coach Erisman and Bryant, giving a natural platform to promote the sport not just in the state of Arkansas, but throughout the national scene.
“The relationship I’ve built with Coach Erisman over the years has been a good one, and he was really on board with giving me an opportunity to do something more creative to tell that story,” said Bryant. “There will be hundreds of other institutions nationwide following Little Rock’s lead. As a wrestling advocate, that’s beneficial to the entire health and longevity of the sport. We’ve seen how well Arkansas has taken to high school wrestling. Now we can document the story of how those kids now have an opportunity to compete at the highest level.”
Little Rock’s wrestling program continues to build from the ground up – literally and figuratively. To date, five wrestlers are currently enrolled in classes on campus and training with a significant number of newcomers expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Construction continues on the Trojans’ 19,000-square foot state-of-the-art Hatcher Wrestling Complex, expected to be completed later this summer.
Coach Erisman continues to build Little Rock’s inaugural schedule, which will also be released later this summer. Season tickets for the 2019 Trojan wrestling slate are currently on sale, beginning at $30 for general admission seats. Mat side seating is also available in limited quantities as tickets for the inaugural season of Little Rock wrestling can be secured by contacting Seth Jones in the Trojan ticket office at 501-569-3393 or e-mail at email@example.com.