By Kris Freeman, Sports Information Director, WHHS
WHITE HOUSE – A growing sports program at White House High School hits the mat on Tuesday as the Blue Devils compete in their first official wrestling match of the season.
White House travels to East Nashville for a match against East Nashville, Pearl-Cohn and Goodpasture. The team meet begins at 4 p.m.
White House returns three state qualifiers in 2017-18, including injured senior Josh Dailey who will be back at the 220-weight class after the first of the year and attempt to qualify for regionals. He finished as a 5th-place medalist in the state tournament for Class A/AA. Junior Ethan Rainey was third in the state at 195, and sophomore Madison Jones medaled as a state qualifier as a freshman. She is one of two females on the team in 2017-18, joining junior Taylor Whitehurst.
The boys roster is 14 deep, but currently three short of filling out all weight classes. In team meets, a school who does not send an individual for each weight class will take a forfeit in that weight class for the day. Some schools do not fill out full rosters, and most female competitors get to compete in individual matches only.
“Our expectations heading into tomorrow are that we can be in better shape than many of the other teams we have faced,” said sixth year head coach Mark Lamberth. “We have some good wrestlers with some good experience, but we are spread out and stacked in the middle. We need three more wrestlers to fill out the 106, 126 and 160 and then I think we can really compete to win team matches.”
The team can still add roster spots in December, but the program is growing with help from assistant coaching and the AAU wrestling circuit.
“In 1997, former principal Bobby Jo Langford bought a wrestling mat to help out the football team and he really felt like the wrestling program would be a good avenue to do that,” said Lamberth, a former football player at White House who played at Western Kentucky and has coached football, and leads the boys soccer program. “Current principal (Scott) Langford led the program about eight years ago when he was teaching, and he got a lot of kids to come out.
“I took it over with help from Kyle Medina and Charlie Hamblin, and I have learned a lot in six years. Now Kyle and John Hill are the wrestling coaches and they are light years ahead of me and a big part of our program.”
Dailey, who was injured during the football season playing offensive line and defensive end, should be back in February. He will have to compete to contend for the region tournament, but the first qualifier is head-to-head matchups and then his previous entry as a state qualifier is the next boost. Dailey should have a good shot at a region berth.
He is joined on the team by fellow seniors Elijah Zweydorff, the heavyweight at the max class of 285 pounds, and Evan Smith at 106. Rainey is the leading returning junior at 195, with Tim Hammond at 182 or 170, and juniors Aaron Worrell and Rhiley Burton in the middle weight classes.
Sophomore Micah Rainey will join Hammond, then Jacob Biles will be at 138 or 145, Matthew Alford at 132, then freshmen Evan Shankle in the middle classes, Cole Thompson at 120, Dylan Newlin at 113, and Wesley Cobb to train with Zweydorff and be prepared as a heavy for next season.
Each Monday, competing weight classes wrestle off for the slot in each tournament, so coaches do no selecting of the wrestlers. The Blue Devils settle it on the mat. But weight fluctuation is common throughout the wrestling season and the TSSAA has allowance rules for high school growth to accommodate number changes.
“A lot of kids have a target weight they want to reach, and we are going to monitor that and do the right things to stay healthy and get there the correct way,” Lamberth said. “Usually, the bigger guys can drop 15-25 pounds throughout the year as they condition and compete, and we go hard in practice.
“You can move up and down in classes and seed before the tournaments, and we aren’t there yet in all classes but our program is growing. The AAU team is a great feeder for us and we have some kids even in seventh grade wrestling that will eventually be here. We are getting there.”
For the girls, finding competition can be tougher. There are two individual meets for each boys and girls, but with the lower number of roster spots for girls, there is almost no way to compete at the team level. Girls will qualify after the first of the year to try and advance.
Girls can compete in practice co-ed, but if they wrestle co-ed in any official match, it disqualifies their opportunity to advance to the regional and state meets as a female at the end of the year.
“I call the schools we are competing against before the meet and find out if they have any of the girls in our weight classes,” Lamberth said. “It’s tougher to find matches, but the number of girls wrestlers has tripled in the last three years. The problem is, those individuals are spread out across the state and you don’t always see a large number of them on a team.”
The boys team returns a lot of experience, even from the AAU team, and only lost one senior in 126-pound Tanner Pharris.
“We have a couple of kids coming from AAU and even that one year of experience puts us so far ahead when it comes to practice time because we are able to get mat times and compete,” he said. “These kids are going to go up and down in class and it’s not an easy sport. It’s tough. We go hard. But I am proud of these kids and the way they compete and we are really close to getting where we want to be.”
White House High School
2017-2018 WRESTLING SCHEDULE
|Nov. 28, 2017||Tue||at Tri at East Literature with Pearl Cohn||·||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 2, 2017||Sat||at Harpeth Individual Tour||Harpeth ·||7:00 AM|
|Dec. 5, 2017||Tue||Tri vs MLK *||WHHS ·||5:00 PM|
|Dec. 5, 2017||Tue||Martin Luther King High School||4:30 PM|
|Dec. 5, 2017||Tue||Page High School||6:00 PM|
|Dec. 7, 2017||Thu||Tri vs LaVergne||WHHS ·||5:00 PM|
|Dec. 7, 2017||Thu||Hunters Lane High School||3:30 PM|
|Dec. 8, 2017||Fri||at East Literature||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 8, 2017||Fri||at Pearl Cohn High School||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 9, 2017||Sat||at Cheatham County Duals||CCHS ·||5:00 PM|
|Dec. 12, 2017||Tue||at Quad with Nolensville/Grace Christian/Eagleville||Nolensville HS ·||5:00 PM|
|Dec. 12, 2017||Tue||Eagleville High School (N)||6:00 PM|
|Dec. 14, 2017||Thu||Tri vs. Fairview and East Robertson *||WHHS ·||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 14, 2017||Thu||East Robertson High School *||Fairview||5:00 PM|
|Dec. 16, 2017||Sat||at Beech Individual||BHS ·||7:00 AM|
|Dec. 19, 2017||Tue||at Tri at Harpeth with Creekwood *||Harpeth ·||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 19, 2017||Tue||Creek Wood High School (N)||4:30 PM|
|Dec. 21, 2017||Thu||at Forrest Dual Tournament||Forrest ·||4:00 PM|
|Dec. 28, 2017||Thu||at Alcoa Duals Tournament||·||4:00 PM|
|Jan. 4, 2018||Thu||Tri at Springfield with Wilson Central||Springfield ·||4:00 PM|
|Jan. 4, 2018||Thu||at Springfield High School||Tri w/ White House and Wilson Central||6:00 PM|
|Jan. 9, 2018||Tue||Tri vs Cheatham County and Pearl Cohn||WHHS ·||4:00 PM|
|Jan. 9, 2018||Tue||Cheatham Co. Central High School||4:30 PM|
|Jan. 11, 2018||Thu||Tri with Whites Creek and Hume Fogg *||WHHS ·||4:30 PM|
|Jan. 11, 2018||Thu||Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet||4:30 PM|
|Jan. 18, 2018||Thu||at Greenbrier High School *||In School Match||1:30 PM|
|Jan. 19, 2018||Fri||at Hendersonville High School||In School Match||8:30 AM|
|Jan. 20, 2018||Sat||at Sycamore Girls Invitational||Sycamore ·||7:30 AM|
|Jan. 30, 2018||Tue||Hendersonville High School||In School Match||8:30 AM|