December 19, 2013

‘Headlocks for Hannah’

Pro wrestling fundraiser tonight pits principal vs. principal

Jamie Jones

— There will be plenty of “Headlocks for Hannah” tonight.

But for two Whitfield County elementary school principals, there will be headaches for them.

Coahulla Creek High School hosts a professional wrestling fundraiser tonight with proceeds benefiting the family of Hannah Locke, a junior at the school who was severely injured in a car accident earlier this year. The accident left Hannah paralyzed from the chest down. Money raised will help pay for costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation sessions that are not covered by insurance.

While a match involving former World Wrestling Entertainment grappler Matt Hardy is the main event for wrestling fans, the evening’s undercard features a match between two principals.

Ben Hunt, principal of Eastside Elementary, faces Tracy Mardis, principal of Westside Elementary. Another principal, Britt Adams of Northwest Whitfield High, is the guest referee.

The brouhaha is billed as a battle of East vs. West. Principal vs. Principal. Friend vs. Friend.

Will these two contemporaries be princi-”pals”? Not during the match, according to one combatant.

“Of course, I’m going to beat him senseless,” Hunt said, confirming that his statement was on the record — and in jest. “He’s running into a tornado.”

When informed by a reporter of Hunt’s bravado, Mardis fired back.

“All he can do is talk trash,” Mardis said. “But you know what? He knows. He knows who’s going to win in the end. He knows that he could never beat me and that’s just the way it is.”

Actually, all three principals are good friends. They often watch wrestling pay-per-views together and have attended several WWE “Wrestlemania” events. They have a trip planned to New Orleans to watch “Wrestlemania 30” in April.

Neither Hunt nor Mardis have a background in pro wrestling, but they have wrestled a match against each other. Well, it was an impromptu match during a birthday party in February for Mardis’ 8-year-old son at a local wrestling organization.

The principals have been training for tonight’s match. Both say they are hoping to put on a good show for the crowd, and more importantly, not injure themselves. They realize the bout is all for fun, but they also know it is for a great cause.

“Really, it’s to support Hannah,” Mardis said. “That’s the only thought. We want to support her and try to raise some funds for the family. That’s really the only driving force. For all of us, it didn’t take any convincing. All they had to do was say, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about doing this’ and we were all like, ‘Hey, let’s do it.’”

Hannah was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit head-on when a driver of an approaching car crossed the center line in a three-car wreck on Dawnville Road on April 5. Others injured included her mother, Mandy, principal at Dug Gap Elementary; grandmother, Barbara Rose, a nurse at Hamilton Medical Center; and family friend Robyn Baggett, principal at Valley Point Middle School.

Hannah’s recovery continues. The 17-year-old has returned to class at Coahulla Creek, but her rehabilitation is ongoing. To ready a Daily Citizen feature on Hannah and her journey, visit

There are several more matches featuring local wrestlers on the card, which is presented by Southern Style Pro Wrestling. Bell time is 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10, while ringside seats are $15. Tickets are available at the door.