High School Wrestling: Lanham eyeing second title

After finishing as a runner-up in 2016, Zane Lanham won a championship last year at the State Wrestling Tournament and looks for another next week.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WCHS-TV/WVAH-TV) - It seems a bit odd that regionals for on the high school wrestling scene for West Virginia have already taken place.

Yet, the State Tournament at Huntington's Big Sandy Superstore Arena won't be unfolding until next week.

This year wrestlers were granted nearly two full weeks between the regionals (the qualifying leg for the State Tournament) and the season-ending championship event.

The tournament will again feature several wrestlers looking to add another title to their mantle. Huntington's Zane Lanham is one of those wrestlers.

. . .

Huntington High School's list of state champions isn't short. As a program, 44 Highlander's have won a West Virginia High School Wrestling State Championship. It was junior Zane Lanham earning the 44th, after taking home a title in 2017. Now, after winning his region last Saturday, he's returning to States, hoping to become the 45th Highlander champion.

"I have to keep the same mentality as last year, and just keep getting better," Lanham said.

Lanham's career has been a successful one, but not one without adversity. As a freshman, Lanham advanced to the state final but ultimately fell short of winning it all.

"I finished second in the state which wasn't bad for a freshman. But I lost to a senior in the Finals. You just can't beat that. I just couldn't get it done," Lanham said.

"Finishing second as a freshman is a heck of an accomplishment, but he wanted better," Huntington High wrestling coach Rob Archer said. He didn't have a chance to win the final that year. He did about the best he could, but to give him a chance to win a state title, it made him hungrier for next year,"

Lanham's attention only became more focused after the defeat, and he knew the only way to get over a loss was to keep getting better.

"First of all, he's not undefeated. Our schedule is hard enough he sees some of the hardest guys in the country, and that's what he and his family wanted coming in. So even if you have two or three losses in a year as he did, it keeps you moving. Our program allows him to lose like that and keep moving. So he goes to some of the toughest places you can go to," Archer said.

" I had a chip on my shoulder. I just had to keep grinding and fighting in the room and get better every day," Lanham said.

It was Lanham's sophomore campaign which he remembers most, overcoming the loss and winning it all. His first state championship.

"I just said, it's not going to happen again. I trained my butt off in the off-season. I didn't take any breaks. I lifted constantly and wrestled constantly. I just kept pushing the same mentality," Lanham said.

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