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Wrestling Program Nabs Fourth State Champion

June 3, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Butch Whitaker is Liberty's four high school state championship to sign for the 2008-09 academic year.

Butch Whitaker is Liberty's four high school state championship to sign for the 2008-09 academic year.

Wrestling head coach Jesse Castro continues to bring in the nation's top high school grapplers, inking Oregon state champion Butch Whitaker to a national letter of intent for the 2008-09 year.

"I believe Butch could be a real ‘sleeper'," commented Castro. "He has been flying under the radar, which served to our advantage. Butch has some impressive credentials behind him, and more importantly, I believe his best wrestling is yet to come."

Whitaker comes to Liberty after posting an impressive .827 winning percentage at Redmond High School in Redmond, Ore. Wrestling in three different weight classes (152, 160 and 171), the Beaver State native tallied a 134-28 record, including a 51-win season as a junior.

Whitaker opened his career by recording a 25-8 mark at 152 pounds. During his rookie year on the wrestling mat for the Panthers, he finished third at the NHSCA Middle School/Freshman National Tournament.

The following year, Whitaker moved up to 160 pounds, finishing with a 23-10 mark. He won his district title and finished sixth at the state championship.

During his final two seasons at Redmond, Whitaker wrestled at 171 pounds. As a junior, he posted an impressive 51-6 record, finishing second at the state championship and fifth at the NHSCA Junior Nationals. The grappler capped off the remarkable season by claiming a national title in the weight class at the AAU Nationals, helping him finish the year ranked No. 19 among national high school wrestlers.

The pinnacle achievement of Whitaker's high school career came as a senior. The wrestler claimed the Oregon 6A state title, completing his senior year with a 35-4 overall record.

A versatile athlete, Whitaker was also an all-league linebacker for Redmond's football program, while graduating with a 3.25 GPA.

Whitaker joins two-time AAA Virginia state champion Joe Pantaleo (130 pounds), three-time Virginia state champion Sam Rakes (152 pounds) and AAAA Alaska state champion Andrew Wilson (215 pounds) on next year's signing class for the two-time defending NCAA East Regional champion Flames.