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The Gazette Wrestling Upper Weights Peak Performer of the Year: Taylor White, Pine Creek

By: BRENT W. NEW preps@gazette.com
April 1, 2015 Updated: April 1, 2015 at 10:34 pm
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Pine Creek's Taylor White is The Gazette wrestler upper weights Peak Performer of the Year. White is pictured April 1, 2015, at Pine Creek High School.

Just out of surgery on the right knee that had betrayed him for the good part of a year, Pine Creek senior Taylor White had his next steps all planned out.

He told himself he would recover quickly from his latest setback - his second right knee injury in the past six months - and he would help the Eagles win another state championship in football as one of the state's top tight ends.

He convinced himself that he'd bounce back in wrestling, too. After suffering a swift exit from the state tournament as a junior, he planned to win a state title in the 220-pound weight class as a senior.

His teams needed more from him, though.

After injuries hit the football team's offensive line early in the fall season, White agreed to switch to left tackle - a move that ended up helping the run-heavy Eagles win their second consecutive state championship in late November. And in wrestling, White volunteered to jump up to the 285-pound class to help fill the void in the wrestling team's lineup.

When asked about it, White said the choices weren't hard to make.

"It doesn't matter what is best for me," said White, The Gazette's upper weights Peak Performer of the year in wrestling. "I mean, you have your own ideas how something is going to happen. But when you can help your team, you don't hesitate doing it."

Despite going up against wrestlers with 50, 60, 70 pounds on him, White nearly won his second title of the year anyway. He went 42-9 over the wrestling season and was one call away from being crowned the Class 5A 285 champion.

"It was one hell of a season," White said. "Of course, I wish I could have won that state title for us."

He thought he had.

The 206-pound White blitzed through meatier competition in the 285 class at the state meet at the Pepsi Center and seemed to have pinned top-ranked Dane Drimmer of Chaparral in the finals.

White's length, speed and technique had proved better than most in the 285 bracket. And for a second it seemed as if his tireless work with heavyweight coach Danny Martinez and former Pine Creek wrestling standout Ian Kluckman would reap its reward in gold on that day.

But no.

The pin attempt was ruled out-of-bounds and Drimmer pulled ahead in the final seconds.

"We thought Taylor had won right there," Martinez said. "He wrestled good enough to win. It just didn't fall that way. His season won't be defined by that."

Today, the senior said he's moved past the disappointment of the finals match. Things don't always go to plan, and he's OK with that.

Right now he is close to signing a commitment with a college to either play football or wrestle.

While he and Pine Creek coach Billy Gabel confirmed that Division-I schools have interest in White to wrestle, neither wanted to disclose the names of the schools or if White is leaning more toward football or wrestling.

"If it's for football it would probably be Division II or something, but for wrestling I think it would be D-I," White said.

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