Whitehead crowned state champion

Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dennis Whitehead became the first Bulldog wrestler ever to win a state championship over the weekend.

The King’s Fork High School wrestling team competed in the Class 4 state tournament over the weekend, and the senior standout Dennis Whitehead was able to accomplish school history. He won the state championship in the 220 division after coming close the last two seasons. Last year, he was the state runner-up but was able to complete his goal this time around.

He defeated Wade Wheeler, a three-time All-American from Amherst High School. Whitehead described the initial moment as unbelievable.

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“It’s one of the best feelings you could have, because you worked so hard to get there,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead has long stood out in the King’s Fork wrestling program. He is the current all-time winner there and eclipsed the 100-win mark this season. His coach, Jason Dunaway, believed this was going to be the year that the senior won the state championship. He favored Whitehead so much that he said he would be shocked if Whitehead did not win.

Dunaway has coached Whitehead for four years, and he also described the feeling as unbelievable to see his senior leader accomplish something great.

“It was a feeling I won’t forget,” Dunaway said. “To know the hours of work put in and the dedication and just how this whole season went is amazing and rewarding and made the sacrifices worth every minute of it. It was bittersweet.”

Even though he was good enough to win a state title, Whitehead believes there were some things he could have done better. The senior Bulldog is always looking for ways to get better. He is undecided about where he will attend college but does intend to continue his wrestling career.

Whitehead was the only Suffolk wrestler this season to win a state title even though as a whole, Suffolk had plenty state runners-up and top-five finishers.

“It all really means a lot to me,” Whitehead said. “But I hope in the years to come we have even more state champions.”