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Dallas senior David Holmquist, top, grapples with West Albany’s Ronald Brunson in their 152-pound match in Dallas’ final home dual meet Jan. 23. Holmquist went on to win by a pin in the second round.
January 30, 2013
DALLAS -- "It's kind of hard to believe because it's gone by so quick."
David Holmquist's words are typical thoughts from an athlete on their senior night, as they try to encompass all that has happened as a team member over the past four years.
Except Holmquist -- one of 11 Dallas wrestling seniors who stood to be recognized with their families surrounding them Jan. 23 prior to matches with West Albany and Woodburn -- wasn't just talking about high school.
His wrestling origins, along with several of the Dallas seniors, go back much further than that -- to the Dallas Mat Club.
The club allows children in grades 1-6 to learn the sport and grooms them for competition with the goal to one day wrestle for the Dragons.
Seniors Holmquist, Gunner Wyatt, Wyatt Passantino, Garrett Lawrence and Brady Andersen are all glittering examples of Dallas Mat Club success stories.
They've also put in more work -- and years -- on the mat than most people can dream about.
Dallas' two Mid-Willamette Conference victories over West Albany (50-27) and Woodburn (46-30) were only one testament to those roots.
Dallas currently stands atop the league with Lebanon, each 4-0 in dual meet competition.
"Mat club was the beginning for me," said Holmquist, who started learning his way on the mat in the third grade.
Dallas’ Gunner Wyatt, right, tries to gain an advantage over West Albany’s Carson French Jan. 23.
"I'm just trying to get a hold of everything I have left."
For guys like Holmquist and Wyatt, what's left is one last shot to show what they can do on the mat. Neither, like most -- if not all -- of the DHS seniors, plan to wrestle in college.
"It's been kind of fun, watching all of us grow up together," said Wyatt, who picked up a gritty third-round pin over West Albany's Carson French in the 145-pound tilt.
With just under half the season remaining, Wyatt -- who's set to go on a six-month mission trip after high school, then possibly to college -- knows what his final year on the mat means to him.
"It means a lot," he said, recalling last year's state team title. Wyatt qualified for the state tournament as an individual last season, but didn't place. "After winning state last year, you just want to do it again and kind of make the most out of it that you can."
Holmquist has his own kind of motivation: previous disappointment.
He has yet to make it out of district competition.
"I'm hoping to crack top two at districts and top three at state, that's my personal goal. If I meet those goals, I'll be happy with myself. All I want to do is place at state," he said.
Both Wyatt and Holmquist have the tools to do just that, Dallas coach Tony Olliff said.
"I've seen him beat people who were on the podium at the end of the state tournament -- I've seen him do it more than once," he said of Holmquist, who won his match Jan. 23, pinning West Albany's Ronald Brunson in the 152-pound class.
"He shows moments of brilliance in his matches where his fast twitch muscles are really, really good, probably the best on the team. Then all of a sudden, he'll wind up on his back.
"If he can just eliminate that moment ... it's what's kept him out of the state tournament."
Wyatt, on the other hand, is just improving.
"Gunner's getting better," Olliff said. "He's starting to use his length. He's starting to use his leverage and length to get into guys, so I'm excited."
Wyatt Passantino continued his dominance on the mat, derailing Woodburn's Ian Alverez with a pin in Round 2 -- after leading the match, 15-1.
Mack Weninger (two wins at 182), Garrett Lawrence (145), Dylan Janssen (152), Nolan Miller (106), Cody Bibler (113), Damian Byington (170), Justin Spencer (120), Scotty Dunagan (160), Josh Naughton (170) and Riley Sipe (220) all picked up wins for Dallas over the course of the two matches, which had plenty of reserves also tasting varsity action.
DALLAS TAKES 13TH AT RESER TOURNAMENT: Dallas, competing short-handed due to illness, placed 13th as a team at the Reser's Tournament of Champions Friday and Saturday at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. Placers for the Dragons were Passantino (third at 152), Bibler (fourth at 106), Dunagan (sixth at 160), David Rebischke (sixth at 170), and Sipe (sixth at 220).
Dallas, Corvallis at Silverton
When: Thursday, 5 p.m.
Dallas at Lebanon
When: Feb. 6, 6 p.m.