Colby Whitehill dominated the heavyweight scene in Pennsylvania high school wrestling from 2018-2020. After what he viewed was a sophomore slump, Whitehill went on an incredible run to claim back to back state titles. He won his last 78 high school matches in a row, and finished with an amazing 132 wins and 86 pins. The craziest part may even be he could have had a few more pins along the way if he was not trying to work on his craft, moves, and technique in some of the matches he was in.
The Knox, Pennsylvania native moved to Brookville later in his childhood, and he became one of the legends on an impressive list of Raiders wrestlers. Initially, the Jefferson County product committed to stay near home and attend Clarion University. However, a visit to the University of Pittsburgh changed his mind, and Whitehill is currently a Panther.
Growing up, it was not always only wrestling for Whitehill. He also had some success on the gridiron, but he was always serious when it came to wanting to be a great wrestler. He got his start in junior Olympic wrestling through the Keystone School District and placed seven times in PJW wrestling tournaments growing up.
Being a part of Brookville wrestling meant being a part of one of the premier wrestling programs in the entire state, but it did not mean prep schools did not reach out to inquire about the likelihood of him joining their programs. Whitehill showed his loyalty to Brookville, however, and finished out his final two years of high school wrestling undefeated.
“Doing what I did for Brookville means everything,” said Whitehill. “I would not have wanted to do it for anyone else. The small-town atmosphere and the wrestling program at Brookville is incredible, and wrestling for Coach Klepfer and the staff was outstanding.”
The former Raider standout picked Pitt because he “felt like I could get better there every day and it was a great place for me to strive for success overall.”
He chose the Panthers over countless offers, but his top four were Clarion, Lock Haven, Rutgers, and Pitt.
Previously mentioned, Whitehill won his last 78 matches in high school in a row, but he says he never felt the pressure build-up as the wins continued to come for him.
“It is important for me to not feel the pressure and to go out there and have fun with it and let it all on the line,” said Whitehill.
This is a mindset he developed after what he says was a disappointing sophomore season in which he lost some winnable matches.
“I lost seven times my sophomore season, and I was frustrated with myself. I just put it in my mind I was not going to lose anymore,” said Whitehill.
Since then, he has only lost in freestyle and Greco wrestling matches. These wrestling styles have allowed him to become a better wrestler while on his feet, an important attribute to develop for heavyweight wrestlers.
Every day he has a match, Whitehill is very detail and routine-oriented. His morning begins with a protein shake, medication, a shower, and then finding a corner in the gym to sit at and begin to focus in. His mentality is each match or tournament is a business trip, and there is no messing around when it comes time to perform. This mentality is what has built him into a championship wrestler and one of the most sought after wrestlers in the entire nation.
In his days at Pitt, he has set various goals for himself, including getting involved in the Regional Training Center (RTC), becoming a three-time All-American, going to the NCAA finals, and being a part of the United States World Wrestling team. Past his days at Pitt, he does believe he would like to continue training and even mentions the WWE as a career that he would consider for himself past his days as an amateur wrestler.
Since coming to Pitt, Whitehill has become a more technically sound wrestler and has continued to work on the little things that set wrestlers apart from each other, like positioning and hand fighting.
“It was tough at first, but I think I have gotten a lot better during my time here so far,” said Whitehill.
The NCAA has granted another year of eligibility to athletes this school year, so it appears that Whitehill will be a Panther until at least 2025. It has been a tough year to transition from high school to college sports, but Brookville has prepared him well for what will continue to lie ahead in his college career.
Colby Whitehill strives to be the best, and it would be foolish to count him out as a possible All-American and NCAA National Champion someday in the future.