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From left, assistant coach Walt Markee, Ashton Brecht and assistant coach Rick Jordan show off the shirts that Markee made for Brecht at the wrestling state tournament this year.

 Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — Ashton Brecht ended his senior season of wrestling for the Dallas High School Dragons with his hand raised in the air.

It was a moment he had been working toward for a long time.

“Ashton began wrestling as a sixth-grader for Austin Markee down at LaCreole Middle School,” said head wrestling coach Tony Olliff. “He has put in countless hours beyond the season, and he always picks the most difficult sparring partners to compete against in practice.”

In the Mid-Willamette Conference, Brecht didn’t have much in the way of competition.

“At districts, I pinned everybody in all my matches,” Brecht said. “I didn’t really have a match go longer than three minutes.”

At state, he pinned his way through to the finals match, where he won 7-1 against Cutter Sandstrom from Scappoose.

“It felt great to win,” he said. “Since sixth grade, I’ve been putting in all the work, training and trying to become the state champion.”

What a way to cap off his final year as a Dragon.

“He earned this,” Olliff said.

Brecht fell in love with wrestling after trying it out “because I hated losing so much in basketball,” he said. “Our team wasn’t very good.”

He practices wrestling year-round — even during football season.

“Because I love wrestling more than football,” he said, chuckling.

His wrestling resume extends beyond the Dragons mat.

Last year, he attended Reno Worlds Tournament in April, and took fifth place in a bracket that included competitors from across the nation. He also competed at the USMC Cadet Junior National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota, in July.

After four years of donning the Dragons emblem, Brecht plans to take on another emblem — at the college level.

“It’s sad, because I’m never going to get the high school wrestling experience again, but then it’s on to college, and there’s lots of colleges looking at me right now,” he said.

He has many memories from the four years wrestling for DHS, but one sticks out in particular: After winning the semifinals match during the state tournament, Brecht saw his assistant coaches, Walt Markee and Rick Jordan, wearing matching T-shirts that depicted a photo of a young Brecht eating a large ice cream cone.

Markee and Jordan had a matching T-shirt for Brecht.

“It’s the best T-shirt ever,” Brecht said.

As he closes out this chapter and begins a new one, Brecht acknowledged the individuals who helped him get to this point.

“I would like to thank all my coaches for all the hard work and effort they put in to me to make me the wrestler I am today,” he said.

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