Tallassee’s senior 132-pounder Josh Epperson won his third consecutive state title and compiled a 51-4 record this year. He has a 238-20 record in five seasons, good for the 10th most wins in AHSAA history.
Thanks to a special haircut, a mustache and having five of his teammates win state championships, Epperson and the Tigers won their first team state championship after five runner-up finishes.
In addition to making history with a team title, Epperson became the first in school history to win three state championships.
He will continue his wrestling career at Newberry College in South Carolina. Epperson is a three-time Wrestler of the Year winner.
How big was it to help your team to its first state title in school history?
“It was amazing. I thought us and St. James were close at sectionals. There were a couple of matches that we won, and they lost that decided us winning it. I thought it was going to be close at state, but we just came out and dominated and surprisingly won six state championships. What we’ve won the most in the past was three, so we doubled what we had done in previous years.”
Take a look back at your high school career.
“My goal as an eighth-grader was to win state. My brother won state, and he’s the reason I started wrestling. I saw him out there, and he won state his 10th-grade year, and I also won state my 10th-grade year. So I was like, ‘I won it now. Now I’ve got to one-up him.’ Then the next year, I came out and went undefeated and won it again. Then this year, I had the opportunity to break the school record. We’ve had a few two-time state champions, but never had a three-time. I had an opportunity to do that, and I pulled it out.
“The whole situation is glorious. The fact that we finally did it. I think we’ve all been together since ninth grade. I guess we finally found the right technique and the bond, and it finally clicked, and we finally came through with it. It’s overwhelming being able to look back at it and be the first team to do that.”
You were sporting an interesting haircut and mustache at sectionals and state, what’s the story?
“I used to have three lines in my hair. Everybody would ask me why I had three lines, and I wouldn’t tell them. But it was really for motivation to get my third state championship. This time I got three lightning bolts, and nobody knew exactly why, but it was motivation to get three.”