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The Times 2011 Wrestler of the Year: White County's Caleb Morris
White County's Caleb Morris is The Times' 2011 Wrestler of the Year.

Coach of the Year: Jefferson's Doug Thurmond

All-Area team

Caleb Morris has made an impact on the White County High wrestling program ever since he stepped on the mat as a 103-pound freshman.

He finished his first year 50-1, with his only loss coming in the Class AAA state championship. Looking back on it, that loss might be the only tarnish on what could be a historic high school career.

Now weighing 135 pounds, Morris, a junior, won his second straight Class AAA championship this year, which followed a title at 130 pounds during his sophomore campaign.

Clearly changing weight classes can't slow down Morris, who is The Times' 2011 Wrestler of the Year.

"It seems easier, but it's not; it's 10 times harder," Morris said of the difference between weight classes.
"The guys were a lot stronger, but if you practice just as hard, you're going to get the same turnout."

And for Morris, that dedication to the sport leads to his success on the mat.

"He's winning outside the typical high school practice," White County coach Tim Bragg said of Morris, who trains till 9 or 10 p.m. on some nights. "Great wrestlers make sacrifices, and he makes sacrifices."

After getting cut from the seventh-grade basketball team, Morris decided to ignore his love of the sport and try wrestling. He immediately became hooked on the new sport, and his dedication to the program and the training led him to a 41-2 record and another state title.

"His mat time is tremendous," Bragg said. "He's very unassuming, but his mat awareness is top notch. He knows from experience, and it's unbelievable to watch."

Bragg has one more year to witness Morris' talents, which will more than likely be on display in yet another different weight class. Morris plans to start his senior season at 145 pounds and drop down to 135 by the end of the year.

And of course, he hopes that year ends with his third straight title.

"I'm thinking my third one will be the hardest match I've ever wrestled in my life," Morris said. "There's more three-time state champs than there are three-peat state champs."

A third consecutive championship will do nothing but add to his legacy at White County.

"If history keeps going, he should be a three-timer," Bragg said. "He's moving into a special crowd because not too many guys in the state have done what he's done.

"I hope he blazes the trail here at White County."

And to think, he could still be trying his hardest to make the basketball team.

"It was a really, really great decision to give up basketball," Morris said. "I love it, it's my favorite sport, but I'm not very good at it now. I'm glad it happened."

Bragg is also happy Morris made that sacrifice.

"He's a special wrestler," Bragg said. "His success rubs off on the other guys, and that's great for him and our program now and in the future."



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