16 team district championships.
192 individual state qualifiers.
59 individual state medalists.
36 individual state champions.
Six team state championships.
All of the aforementioned within the last 22 years. I guess you could say Whitfield wrestling has quite the resume.
Who's responsible for the tremendous legacy? You could start with Charlie Sherertz.
“I refuse to forget our humble beginnings," said the Warriors coach. “A lot of days I didn’t think I was gonna turn the corner here."
But he did.
Sherertz took over the program 22 years ago after the team had just one meet win over three years. The new coach had quite the resume himself once he landed in Whitfield's lap: two state high school championships, a freestyle national champion (1985), and an NCAA D-I All-American at Mizzou after winning two team national titles at Iowa.
So, what did he bring with him that started Whitfield's dominance?
“It’s consistency in what we do – philosophically, how we train, the amount of time we put in," said Sherertz.
Many who wrestle for the Warriors wrestle year-round. Learning proper technique is, of course, a priority. However, training and discipline are monumental.
“Everyone was really scared in the beginning," said J.R. Ditter, a senior Whitfield wrestler who was a state champion as a 113-pound freshman.
“We all understand he knows his stuff and we kinda respect that, so we kinda try to listen to everything he says," he said.
Listening to Sherertz is probably a smart move considering the Warriors are ranked number one in the state for Class A yet again.
So, what's coaches secret to the perennial dominance? Coach says there isn't one.
“I like to tell people there is no secret. Hard work makes dreams come true," he said.
“I really think we just pay our dues. We just out work the competition ... Follow the plan, believe in themselves and good things will happen.”
The state wrestling championships for Missouri are in Columbia in February.