As of Wednesday, January 10, 2018
DALLAS — Dallas’ wrestling program has a history of excellence, and so far, the Dragons have lived up to that history.
Dallas dominated the Brunner Invitational, placing first out of eight teams on Saturday.
“It's awesome to get to wrestle in front of the community,” senior Treve Earhart said. “For all our friends and families to not have to travel far to watch us, it’s great and it’s always good to win in front of the home crowd.”
The Dragons went 4-0, defeating Junction City (67-9), Willamina (58-7) and Pendleton (65-6) before beating Milwaukie (60-6) in the first-place match.
Dallas’ finish on Saturday was the latest in a string of strong results to start the season.
The Dragons are ranked third in Class 5A by the Oregon Wrestling Forum.
Senior Treve Earhart is off to a 22-3 start, including three wins on Saturday, and is ranked first in 5A at 182 pounds by the OWF.
“A lot of (my focus) is about the team,” Earhart said. “It’s improving a little bit every day. It’s seeing that improvement and doing whatever I can to help the team and help others improve. … I’m always adding little things. We’re working on a move until we can do it without even thinking about it.”
Earhart is one of several wrestlers who is making his presence felt.
Joseph Foster is ranked third at 132 pounds, while Jacob Jones is third at 138 pounds. Cael Morrison is ranked fourth at 106 pounds, and Ryan Bibler (fourth) and freshman Haydn Miller (fifth) are ranked at 113 pounds.
“We didn’t know what we could be (at the start of the season),” Earhart said. “But we start to find it in ourselves, push each other and start to get a sense that we can compete with other teams. That pushes us even harder to be a little bit above them.”
Finding that extra level can be challenging.
Practices test wrestlers on a daily basis. The bond teammates share is strong, but once practice begins, friendships are put aside and the focus is on perfecting a move, learning something new and building endurance.
“You can’t be buddies with everyone,” Earhart said. “It’s not time to be nice with everybody. It’s not beating each other up, but we get after it.”
While that can lead to intense experiences, the desire to improve drives them forward.
“Our mindset is wanting to be great,” Earhart said. “If you’re mentally weak, you’ll have trouble getting through a tough practice. You won’t win those close matches. The successful programs, they have that mental strength.”
All the work is rewarding when they triumph after a tough match, and despite the challenges, Earhart is taking special care to approach each day with a smile.
“I try and enjoy this every day,” Earhart said. “It only lasts for so long. For most of the seniors, this will be our last time wrestling. I don’t want to take anything for granted.”
Dallas will compete at South Albany Thursday at 6 p.m. before traveling to the Oregon Classic on Friday and Saturday in Redmond.
“We just need to keep improving,” Earhart said. “We want to keep that upward slope, keep pushing and everything will take care of itself.”