Wrestling: Coaching legend draws Bentonville's Jones to Campbell

Posted: November 10, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Bentonville High senior Cash Jones (left) carries his friend, Jackson Visser, 15, after signing a letter of intent Thursday at Bentonville High School in Bentonville. The wrestler signed with Campbell University.

BENTONVILLE -- It was going to take somebody with great influence to cause Cash Jones to go almost 1,100 miles to continue his wrestling career.

Campbell University head wrestling Cary Kolat was just that person, and the two-time state wrestling champion at 145 pounds made it official Thursday when Jones signed his national letter of intent with the NCAA Division I school located in Buies Creek, N.C.

Jones said because of Kolat and what he knew about wrestling, he didn't have interest in any other college.

"He's one of the huge names in wrestling. He's a legend," Cash said of Kolat. "Once he moved to Campbell University, it was covered on FloWrestling. I filled out a questionnaire immediately because I knew I wanted on that team. Three years later, I'm signing.

"Campbell was my first choice all along. It's a beautiful area, has an amazing coaching staff, great campus and a quality education. It's more than I could ask for. I'm excited to go to my college of choice. Not many people get this opportunity."

Jones finished last season with a 70-4 record and won his weight class in three invitational tournaments, as well as the Big West and 6A/7A state wrestling tournaments. It marked a successful comeback for Jones, who won a state championship in the 106-pound class his freshman year, but didn't make the state tournament the following year because of an injury.

He will try to win a third state championship in a third different weight class this year. He's already increased his weight to 175 pounds during the offseason, and there was been talk of Jones wrestling in anywhere from the 165- to 195-pound class while at Campbell.

"This is a big day, and it's a testament of where this program is built and come to over the years," Bentonville coach James Rappe said. "I've had a couple of boys over the years that have been able to wrestle at the Division I level, and when I moved over here, I immediately identified Cash as being in that level.

"We've had it planned for some time of him going up in weight class. I told him last year we were going to hit the weights hard. He's at 175 pounds now, and he's going to continue to grow and fill out. He may be the fastest kid, as far as level changes, that I've ever had."

Sports on 11/10/2017