Father-daughter combination works well for Apprentice's wrestling team

HAMPTON — After almost 40 years as a wrestling coach, Apprentice School's Bruce Shumaker is approaching another milestone. Shumaker finished this year's Virginia Duals just two wins shy of 100 in his seven years as the Builders' coach.

And when he reaches the 100-victory mark, one can be sure that his scorekeeper and manager, who both happen to be his daughter Maggie, will be in attendance.

However, she will have to wait for another day to see her dad hit that mark. Apprentice lost to Ferrum 32-10 in a consolation-round match Saturday, eliminating the Builders from further competition and keeping her dad's Apprentice victory total at 98..

Maggie has been with her dad for more than 20 years. She started just after her wrestling career was cut short in second grade by her concerned mother.

Now married and living in Fayetteville, N.C., Maggie still gets to most of the matches. When asked how many she has missed, Bruce Shumaker interjected, “Well, she got married and missed two. But she's been to every match, all the back to Mathews.”

Shumaker's coaching career stretches back to 1974, when he was an assistant, then head coach at Denbigh until 1980. After a year as an assistant at Virginia Military Institute, his other stops included Natural Bridge (six years), Mathews (nine years) and Lafayette (nine years). After a shade over 30 years as a high school coach, Shumaker was hired for the open coaching position at the Apprentice School.

Looking to fill his staff, Shumaker didn't have to look far for his scorekeeper.

“She has been with me since elementary school,” he said. “Actually, she went to about 20 state tournaments in a row.”

Asked about her interest in wrestling, Maggie replies, “I just love wrestling and wrestled until second grade.”

That's when her tomboyish ways became a concern. Said the coach, “She was a mat rat from the get-go. Wrestled until her mother said ‘no more.' Maggie was probably in the second grade. But I didn't go to any wrestling event after that without her. She ate up wrestling, and could not get enough of it.”

So, how did the transition to team manager come about?

One night, Coach Shumaker found himself without someone to keep the team's official book. In a pinch, he turned to his young daughter.

When asked if she could remember his recruiting pitch, Maggie was quick with an answer, one that reflects just how youthful she was when taking on the position.

“He asked me, ‘Do you know how to count to five?' said the daughter, laughing at the recollection.

Indeed she could, and a new team manager was born.

Maggie's prowess as the backbone of the team did not go unnoticed. During her senior year of high school, she was chosen as “USA Wrestling” magazine's Manager of the Year.

Coach Shumaker admitted that “I love it when she's here,” but also attaches a sidebar that indicates her managerial skills. “When she's here, I know the score is going to be kept the right way.”

And she wouldn't miss the opportunity this weekend to watch her dad move closer to his 100th college victory with a triumph Friday.

“That's why I'm here!” she exclaimed. Although her new home 250 miles away makes it harder to attend every meet, she is still an important part of the Builders' team.

Aside from the potential milestone, there was another reason for Maggie to be in attendance at Hampton Coliseum.

Looking to the seat next to her in Section M of the Coliseum bleachers, she confessed, “Sorry, Dad, but it's always good to have an excuse to come to the Duals!”

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