Whitehead close to 100

Published 7:46 pm Thursday, January 4, 2018

King’s Fork High School senior Dennis Whitehead is closing in on his 100th win.

If not for the weather, Whitehead could have had his 100th career wrestling win already. He has 99 at the moment, and King’s Fork was supposed to wrestle a couple of matches Wednesday night at Western Branch High School.

Barring an injury, the milestone is almost inevitable. However, Whitehead does not think about it too much, but he does admit that it is indeed a great feeling.

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“It feels great just to see that my hard work is paying off,” he said.

Whitehead and his coach, Jason Dunaway, have lofty goals for the senior this season. Dunaway believes Whitehead should be a state champion this season at the Class 4 level. He was a runner-up last year at 195. Last season, he also was the conference and regional champion at 195. For his career, he is a two-time conference champion as well as two-time regional champion. Before finishing second in the state last year, his highest finish was fifth.

King’s Fork has a lot of confidence in Whitehead, to the point Dunaway says he’ll actually be shocked if the senior doesn’t win the state championship for his weight class. The senior Bulldog has his eyes on that as well but wants to take everything one match at a time.

“Well, like he (Dunaway) said, we want that state championship,” Whitehead said. “We’ll take whatever else comes with that as well.”

Not only is Whitehead a standout on the mat but also he was a standout on the football field for the Bulldogs. He was selected to the all-district team as a defensive lineman and scored a couple of offensive touchdowns for the Bulldogs in their postseason run. Wrestling has helped him on the football field, from his conditioning to his tackling skills. He can have his choice of playing football or wrestling at the next level, but at this moment he is still trying to decide.

When on the mat, his thought process is simple. He knows his opponent wants the win just as bad as he does, so he just outworks his opponent. His statistics show he is one of the most, if not the most, accomplished wrestler in the school’s history, but he does not give it too much thought, wrestling either a 195 or 220.

King’s Fork will wrestle again Jan. 10. That will likely be the day Whitehead gets his 100th victory.