UNION COUNTY — The captain of the Union County High School Wrestling Team will soon be wrestling for Newberry College.
In a Wednesday morning ceremony at the CATE Center attended by his family, coaches, teammates and friends, Zach Valentine signed to attend and wrestle for Newberry College begining this fall.
At the beginning of the signing ceremony, Assistant Principal Michelle James spoke about Valentine’s years at UCHS, pointing out that he played three sports during that time while also excelling academically and being involved in other school organizations. James said that Valentine played football and wrestled during all of his four years at UCHS and now, in this his senior year, serves as captain of the wrestling team. She said that during his frieshman, sophomore, and junior years he also played soccer.
In academics, James said that Valentine has been a member of the National Honor Society in his sophomore, junior, and senior years and a member of the National Technical Honor Society in his junior and senior years. James said he was a member of the Arthur State Junior Board of Directors in his junior year. She said he has been a member of the Future Famers of America for the past four years and is currently serving as the group’s vice president. He has also been a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the past three years.
Following the signing ceremony, Valentine said he chose Newberry because of its size, the quality of its staff, and its home-like atmosphere.
“I like how it is small,” Valentine said. “I like the coach very much. I met up with the professors and saw how they teach and I like that. It feels like home there.”
Among those attending the signing ceremony in support of Valentine was UCHS Wrestling Coach John Langenfeld who praised his decision to sign with Newberry.
“Zach made a great choice,” Langenfeld said. “We’ve been going to the Newberry Wrestling Camp, they offer Sunday clinics there throughout the fall which Zach attended every Sunday. They like him a lot during those practices.
“Newberry’s a great campus,” he said. “Because it’s got a smaller student/teacher ratio you’re a person not a number. Also, they’re far enough home from that he has his identity, but close enough if he has to get back.”
In looking back over Valentine’s career at UCHS, Langenfeld pointed out that in his senior year, Valentine won the Academic Award for the team and the Most Wins Award. He said that Valentine had won the Most Wins Award two years in a row.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.