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Raider wrestler Kaden White heads to state finals on Wednesday

MCHS’s Kaden White (right) and Eagleville’s Wyatt McLemore (left) share a friendly wrestling rivalry. They placed first and second at the recent regional tournament and could face each other again at state. (Photo Credit: Kris White)

SPORTS — According to Raider Wrestling Head Coach Kevin Pearson, wrestling is the only sport that humbles you. “Win or lose, you always learn something every match,” he says.

It’s a sentiment that Moore County High School senior Kaden White agrees with: “I would much rather lose against a good kid than wrestle someone I know I’m going to beat. You don’t really learn much from that.”

On Wednesday, February 24, Kaden White hopes to learn what it feels like to be the best 170 pound high school wrestler in the state of Tennessee as he heads to Chattanooga to represent the Raiders in the TSSAA State Wrestling Championship — a historic first for Moore County athletics.

Although it’s a first for MCHS, Kaden is no stranger to the state wrestling championship scene. Last winter as a junior, he placed sixth in the private school division wrestling for Knoxville Catholic High School. As a sophomore, he won the region but failed to place at state.

A local son with some deep athletic roots

Kaden is the son of MCHS Football Head Coach Kris White and Lynchburg Elementary teacher and former MCHS Raiderette Head Coach Holly White. He and his family moved from East Tennessee back to Moore County last fall so that Kris could take over the MCHS football program.

Kaden and his brother, Dawson, both played for the 11-2 Raiders this year. The squad lingered in the AP Top 10 all season, made it back into the Class A State Playoffs, and area coaches named Kaden a Mr. Football semi-finalist. Kaden says his equally athletic brother got him interested in wrestling and pushes him every day to do his best. Dawson, a freshman at MCHS, plays football and basketball for MCHS. Kaden, a senior, plays football, wrestles, and plays baseball.

“We’re very competitive with each other when it comes to sports,” Kaden jokes. “We can’t even play a pick up game of basketball in the driveway anymore because it gets too heated. But we definitely drive each other … but in a good way.”

Coach Pearson hopes Kaden’s success will inspire younger wrestlers

Head Coach Pearson attributes Kaden wrestling success to longevity, work ethic, and being open to feedback.

“He’s very coachable and he understands the sport,” he says. “He’s maybe learned a little from me but he’s learned a lot from a lot of very good wrestling coaches over the years.”

Coach Pearson says he hopes Kaden’s success will encourage even more local students to join the MCHS wrestling squad next year. This year’s high school team boasted 22 wrestlers — 19 boys and three girls. Coach Pearson also launched a elementary school program for LES students in grades 1-6. “I’ve got 20 little kids out there just loving it,” he says.

This means lots of younger eyes will be watching Kaden wrestle on Wednesday. It’s an honor he takes very seriously.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Kaden says. “I’ve been to a couple of practices at the elementary school and I can feel them watching me.”

Kaden’s dad, Kris, who serves as assistant coach for the MCHS wrestling team says that wrestling attracts kids who are athletic and interested in sports but not necessarily drawn to team sports.

“Everywhere that we’ve been whether it be Oakland or Knoxville Catholic, you have kids show up to wrestle with art backgrounds and band backgrounds who wouldn’t play football or basketball but had success in the wrestling ring,” says Kris. “That’s their way of getting out there and being an athlete.”

The TSSAA Wrestling State Tournament will take place February 24 in Chattanooga. Ticket to go watch Kaden wrestle have already sold out but the match will be broadcast live at TSSAAsports.com or you can watch through the NFHS Network. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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