Grand Valley Alumni Watch: White wrestling well at Wartburg College
Sean White’s wrestling career didn’t end the way he hoped, but the 2006 Central High School graduate has no regrets.
White qualified for the NCAA Division III national championships last weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but finished one round shy of placing and earning All-American honors.
“It was a good experience overall,” White said. “It didn’t turn out the way I would’ve liked it to, but I was happy I got to experience being there.
“My goal was to win it. That’s where my head was at.”
The Wartburg (Iowa) College 133-pound senior (31-9) entered the national tournament with an Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title.
“After conference, I was pretty pumped up to go nationals,” White said. “I felt like I was ready for nationals. I had a great two weeks of practices.”
White, seeded fourth, won his first match at nationals, 8-4, to reach the quarterfinals. There, he lost 8-4.
“That second match, if one or two things go differently, it could’ve gone the other way,” White said. “The same with the next match that put me out of the tournament. I was down 5-2 and made one mistake that put me out of reach of winning that match. One mistake in a big tournament like that can put you in a bad situation.”
Although White’s wrestling career is over, he is still focused on becoming a coach one day.
“The whole experience I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere but at Wartburg,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about wrestling and life in general. I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet, but at the same time, I know I’ve put in a lot and I’m ready to move forward with the next step.
“Right now, my focus is to finish school and graduate. With wrestling, I’m going to look to coach and still be a part of the wrestling community. Wrestling is always going to be a part of my life somehow.”
Here’s a look at how some college athletes with local ties fared recently:
Angel Forsling (Grand Junction, 2006), Colorado School of Mines: The junior will compete in the NCAA Division II Championships this weekend in Canton, Ohio, in three events: 100-yard breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. She is seeded 11th in the breaststroke (1:05.25), 29th in the 200 breaststroke (2:24.30) and 46th in the IM (2:10.52).
Chelsea Tompkins (Fruita Monument, 2006), Air Force Academy: The senior diver finished 10th on the platform with a season-best score of 214.05, took 16th on the 3-meter springboard after a career-best 250.60 in the preliminaries and was 21st overall in the 1-meter event with a score of 197.20 a couple of weeks ago at the Mountain West Conference Championships in Oklahoma City.
Track & Field
Rafael Cote (Grand Junction, 2009), University of New Mexico: The freshman placed fourth in the 800-meter run (1:52.79) recently at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. The Lobos’ men’s team finished third.
Steve Kasica (Fruita Monument, 2008), University of Colorado: The sophomore placed ninth in the 800-meter run at the Big 12 Indoor Championships the last weekend in February with a time of one minute, 50.80 seconds.
Tucker Lane (Nucla, 2007), University of Nebraska: The sophomore heavyweight took third place in the Big 12 Championships on Saturday in Norman, Okla., and qualified for the 2010 NCAA Championships on March 18-20 in Omaha.
Joe LeBlanc (Meeker, 2007), University of Wyoming: The 184-pound sophomore (35-4) won a regional title last weekend and was chosen the NCAA West Regional Outstanding Wrestler by the coaches. He qualified for the NCAA Championships on March 18-20 in Omaha. LeBlanc, who earned All-American status last season, is ranked eighth in the nation.
Charlie Pipher (Hotchkiss, 2004), Western State College: The 184-pound senior (22-3), who is ranked No. 1 in the nation in NCAA Division II, will wrestle for a national title this weekend in Omaha. He won an RMAC title and West Regional title with two pins in the tournament. He was sidelined by an injury for three weeks before the tournament.