EDMOND — Derek White broke Edmond North’s career takedowns record, and he did it in one season.
The Oklahoman’s All-City Wrestler of the Year scored 335 takedowns, surrendered none, and won the 195-pound Class 6A state title while going 40-0 in his senior season.
Of his 40 wins, 39 came by major decision, technical fall, or pin. His closest match against an in-state opponent was a 13-point victory.
“Every match I came out aggressive, looked for my offense immediately, and things just came together,” said White, who finished his career with 670 takedowns to shatter the previous record of 332 held by Charles Jones (2000-03). “My mentality was totally different from what it had been in the past. I’ve always looked up to guys that came through here like Teyon Ware, Charles Jones, and our other great alumni. Having a season like I did and setting some records for us is really cool for me.”
White’s progression toward the most dominant season in school history began when he made the decision to give up football and baseball his freshman year in order to dedicate his focus strictly to wrestling. He finished runner-up at 119 pounds that season and was a state qualifier at 145 pounds as a sophomore.
His breakthrough win came in the state finals at 170 pounds as a junior when he beat Southmoore’s state champion Nathan Marek, who had already beaten White three times that season.
“That was a huge win for him in his junior year, because there was some doubt,” said Edmond North coach Andy Schneider. “But there was no question at all that he was going to win state his senior year. He’s wrestled for a very long time with our little league and then our junior high, so I can remember watching him develop. His junior year, it started to click a little bit, and then really this year it all just came together.
“I think him starting out at a smaller weight in high school helped him a lot. When he got big he was still able to wrestle agile and balanced like a little guy, and he had a lot of opponents that just weren’t ready for that style.”
White believes without the close relationship he’s built with Schneider, he might never have become the wrestler he is today.
“Coach Schneider has helped me a lot throughout my four years in high school, and even in junior high,” White said. “He’s been a huge influence and he’s definitely been the person that got me to where I am.”
White signed his letter of intent with Nebraska in the fall, a program he’d built a relationship with because Edmond North attends the Huskers’ camp every summer.
“I went to camp up there for four years and it just kept growing on me,” White said. “When I took my visit, I realized how awesome all their facilities are and the people are amazing. I want to go up there and, whenever I get my chance in the lineup, become a multiple-time national champion.”