Trevor McWhorter has spent his season blended into the background in Williamson's lineup. He was a big part of the run of wrestlers in the light and middleweights that made them so difficult to beat.
At the same time he was overshadowed by the likes of state qualifier Tyrus Hamblin, state placewinner Logan Everett and regional fourth-place finisher Billy Barnes. He's not overshadowed any longer, at least not after last weekend's performance.
McWhorter qualified for this weekend's Class AA Northeast Regional tournament for the first time in his career with a third-place finish at 132 pounds last weekend at the District 4 tournament. Surprised to hear that? He's not.
"I like being the underdog," he said after receiving his medal Saturday night. "I like surprising people. I expected this out of myself. I don't know if it surprised anyone because I expect to go to states."
For the last two years that may have been an absurd statement for someone like McWhorter to make. Although he had two good seasons, including winning a sectional title as a freshman, they weren't seasons in which he was yet ready to make a run at the state tournament.
He was a two-time district qualifier prior to this year. He won 22 matches as a freshman when he won a sectional title, and 19 more last year when he was third at sectionals and went 2-2 at districts.
But this year has been different. He's spent his entire season winning matches and being competitive in others against high-quality wrestlers. His three losses this year prior to the district tournament came in a two-day span to District 4 qualifiers Nick Bruce of Troy, and Jesse Shannon of Central Columbia. The other came to District 2 runner-up Morgan Fuller of Western Wayne, and none of the three losses were by more than two points.
And throughout the season, McWhorter had wins against district qualifiers Terrick Vargason of Towanda, Brandon Kelley of Wyalusing, Doug McCarty of Warrior Run and Brad Pequignot of North Penn. So taking third place in the district was no surprise.
"You have to believe in yourself 100 percent, and I did that," McWhorter said. "This is exactly where I wanted to be."
McWhorter has been the beneficiary of a competitive practice room. Fitting right in the middle of a group that includes Everett, Barnes and Herman Briggs, he said he's been the beneficiary of being pushed every day.
"You know you're going to get a great practice partner every day," said McWhorter, who won his 75th career match on Saturday. "We switch it up every day. We go a little live, and do some drills with everybody. It gets you ready for anything you might see."
McWhorter is a big part of the reason Williamson finished fourth as a team in the district tournament. The Warriors were dealt a big blow to their team title hopes when junior returning state qualifier Tyrus Hamblin was unable to compete in the postseason because of an illness.
McWhorter helped pick up some of the slack for lost points, first by winning a sectional title, and then by taking third last week. All three of his wins were bonus-point victories, including falls in both the consolation semifinals and the consolation finals.
"The coaches stressed to us not to worry about that because the points will come as we go," McWhorter said. "So I never really worried about that. We all just went out and wrestled the same way we would have."
McWhorter said he didn't do anything special in the offseason to help the next step in his wrestling. In fact, he said he didn't do as much wrestling in the offseason as he was hoping to.
But in the process of a season where he's worked out with exceptional practice partners, he's found a comfort in his wrestling. That comfort level has come in all three positions on the mat.
"It definitely feels better than it did before," McWhorter said of his wrestling. "I feel totally comfortable for the first time ever. I didn't have all three positions as well as I wanted them before. But I have them now."
That, combined with the confidence he's built through the best season of his career, is going to make him a tough out this weekend.