HHS’s Lanham shining in senior year
HUNTINGTON — Parkersburg South and Spring Valley visited Huntington Thursday for a three-team wrestling match Thursday that featured 14 athletes who placed at the Class AAA state tournament in February 2017.
Parkersburg South, the top-ranked team in the state per online prep wrestling forum wvmat.com, easily defeated the Highlanders and Timberwolves. Huntington head coach Robbie Archer said he felt his team could have wrestled better against the Patriots.
There were some bright spots for Archer to take away in defeat.
Three of his wrestlers, Jaishawn Lyles at 106 pounds, A.J. Dempsey in the 152-weight class and Zane Lanham at 182 pounds all won their matches.
Lanham is a two-time state champion for the Highlanders. In a decade of domination by Parkersburg South in the sport, Lanham defeated Patriot wrestlers for the 152-pound state title in his sophomore year then repeated in 2017 in the 182-pound class.
On Thursday he defeated yet another Patriot, Daulton Fullerton, with a pin.
“I’d never faced him before,” Lanham said. “He’s always been bigger than me.”
Fullerton, like many of Lanham’s other opponents, attempted a strategy of avoiding the Huntington High senior in an attempt to avoid takedowns. By avoiding Lanham, teams try to frustrate him and keep the matches close, then hope he makes mistakes.
“You see it everywhere, you saw it here tonight, we even try it with our other guys,” said Huntington High head coach Rob Archer. “They try to frustrate him, but he is a seasoned veteran and approaches every match like a professional.”
Lanham’s goal for an undefeated season ended earlier against a competitor from Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, Pennsylvania, that is ranked sixth in the nation. He lost to an opponent headed to the University of Oklahoma on a wrestling scholarship.
Now carrying a 12-1 season record, Lanham said he just has to, “keep pushing” to meet the other goals he set. Lanham wants to be the top wrestler in his weight class and wants to dominate each opponent he faces.
Lanham is not only dominating the in-state competition but has dominated out of state wrestlers too with pins and major decisions. Major decisions are wins by 8 to 14-point margins and net the team four points in the meet.
The season for Lanham and the Highlanders continues Saturday at a quad-match in Christiansburg, Virginia, and Dec. 21 at Parkersburg that is ranked No. 2 in Class AAA.
Inspiration for the fourth-ranked Highlanders will come from some someone like Lanham who Archer said is a role model.
“I’m not sure you can replace someone like Zane,” Archer said. “You hope to. You can only build up the kids and try to get someone to replace him.”
Lanham signed to continue his wrestling career at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina, next year. Lanham said he chose the NCAA Division II school over offers from West Virginia University and others after he fell in love with the campus and also found the wrestling coach, R.C. LaHaye, to have the same passion for wrestling he does.
Once there, Lanham, who carries a 3.85 GPA, will major in physical education K-thru-12.
Before he takes that step, there’s a lot more wrestling in the Mountain State to come including the WSAZ Invitational, Region IV Tournament and State Tournament. Winning at those tournaments were goals on his list and after having success in his sophomore and junior seasons, they’re not goals out of his reach.