SOUTH PLAINFIELD – South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Senior Anthony White officially signed to wrestle at Rutgers University on Nov. 16. White joins the ranks of several SPHS alumni wrestling greats who went on to succeed at Rutgers, including Anthony Ashnault, 2019 NCAA Champion.
“It’s a great feeling,” White said. “To have worked my whole high school career and finally get to this point and make a decision that I'm happy with is incredible. I wouldn’t want to be any other place.”
With his father, Chris, and mother, Lori, by his side, White signed Rutgers’ paperwork in front of the high school that brought him so much success.
“I’m pretty emotional,” Lori White said. “I’m just proud of him. He worked hard, and he deserves this.”
Head SPHS Wrestling Coach Steve Johnston says the decision was a good one that will bring him continued success.
“This is great for Anthony,” Johnston said. “For a long time, Anthony has had a special place in his heart for Rutgers. He’s gone to wrestling camps there, it’s right down the road, and he’s seen past wrestlers from South Plainfield have success at the NCAA level at Rutgers. I think this is definitely something that Anthony saw himself doing, and he worked his tail off to make sure he accomplished this goal.”
Wrestling since he was 5 years old, White found his passion for the sport early on.
“We’re very proud of Anthony,” said Robert Diehl, SPHS Principal. “I’ve known him and his family since he was in elementary school. Anthony has been a wonderful student. He is a fantastic athlete and the nice thing about this is, he’s moving from this terrific program we have here to another terrific program at Rutgers. He follows in the line of other students from here that go to Rutgers. Rutgers is a very strong program.”
White learned everything he could from South Plainfield Recreation and middle school wrestling coaches and by high school he was unstoppable. He was ready for the expertise of the SPHS wrestling staff.
“Once wrestlers get to the high school level from the younger days, they do a great job,” said Johnson. “That’s a testament to our recreation and middle school programs. When they get up to the high school, we guide them and help them get to where they want to be. We talk about their goals when they first come in here, and what are they doing and what are we doing to help you achieve them.”
White is not alone in his choice to wrestle at Rutgers. Several SPHS alumni have advanced to Rutgers.
“We’ve had seven wrestlers since 2012 go to Rutgers and have success there,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome. He’s going to be close to home. I’m going to be able to see him wrestle. He’ll have his family close by, which is very important to him.”
“I want to wrestle at the highest level and be the best wrestler I can possibly be, and Rutgers wrestles on the Big Ten schedule,” White said. “It’s as high a level of program you can get, and it’s right down the street here. It’s really convenient and it’s the best option for me.”
A role model for his sister, Christyann, and brother, Bobby, who is an underclassman wrestling for SPHS, as well as fellow South Plainfield wrestlers aspiring to achieve success, White plans to embrace all that the Rutgers’ wresting program has to offer.
“I know he’s going to do great at Rutgers,” Diehl said. “It has been my pleasure watching him wrestle these past few years. It’s been a highlight of so many of the meets because he’s been so successful. He is a terrific athlete and a terrific young man.”