Tony Olliff has nearly seen it all coming into his 22nd year as the head coach for the Dallas Dragons wrestling program. But this season could be a first for him and his Dragons as he hopes to win a league title for both his boys and girls programs and possibly see them both go to state.
“Last season we won a district title on the boys side,” said Olliff. “And the neat thing about winning a district title was we did it with only one senior on our team and so that was kind of special.”
The Dragons bring back every state qualifier in every state placer this year, so Olliff hopes to put a pretty big dent in things at the state meet this year.
“On the girls side we lost one senior and she is continuing to wrestle for Umpqua Community College. But what makes the girls program unique this year is this is the first time we have had double digits on that side,” Olliff said.
Over the last 15 seasons, the Dragons have secured 12 league titles. Last year, they crushed the competition in their league meet outscoring the second-place team by nearly 100 points. Following that, the goal for the team was to come home with a trophy at state. However, Redmond edged them out, finishing fourth, leaving the Dragons in fifth.
“The top four teams earn a trophy and we came just shy of that,” said Olliff. “Hopefully this year we can get after it and try to win it (state). There are a few teams in the state that are going to be tough to beat like Redmond and Mountain View. And in our league, Crescent Valley has a few standouts along with West Albany.”
Dallas has an excellent chance to chase the state title with all 15 of their state finishers last season returning to this year’s roster. Joseph Johnson, Thomas Talmadge, Owen Hess, Owen Jones, Cole Langford, Isaac Jones and Eli Nava all finished sixth or higher in the state meet last season. The Dragons also qualified two girls for state last season in Ivy McIntosh and Polly Olliff.
“We have five girls that are returning,” said Olliff. “And we’ve added about eight more to that. So right now we’re sitting at 13 girls which is far and away more than we’ve ever had. So it’s pretty exciting to see what that holds for us. It would be fun to see us win league titles on both sides and hopefully take our boys to state with the intention of winning it.”
The Dragons will have an intersquad meet, splitting up half the team to compete against each other, on Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. Before heading to their first meet at Lebanon in the Weisbrodt Invitational on Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. A couple weeks later their first home meet is a dual meet against Thurston who finished top three last year.
“Last year Thurston was third in the state and they brought back a number of those big guns,” said Olliff. “And Thurston also won a state title in girls wrestling last year in which they also return many on that side as well. So we’re going to get matched up and see how it goes.”