Monday, September 01, 2014

Weidl breaks state drought

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 3/3/2014

Nearly 40 years passed since Ottawa High School had a wrestling state champion. Dalton Weidl knew the history.

He grew up in Ottawa and knew there were a few before him that placed second and third at state.

Nearly 40 years passed since Ottawa High School had a wrestling state champion. Dalton Weidl knew the history.

He grew up in Ottawa and knew there were a few before him that placed second and third at state.

Weidl wrestled his way into the state championship match Saturday in Salina. The 195-pounder put everything out of his mind except for his plan.

The Ottawa senior executed it nearly flawlessly and topped Concordia’s Skylar Hittle, 6-2, to win the championship. He joins Earl Hooper as the only other Ottawa state champion. Hooper won his title in 1975.

“The state championship is a huge accomplishment,” Weidl said. “It has been my dream to be a high school state champion since I was little.

“It was an awesome feeling afterwards. It was amazing. It was unbelievable. It is a moment you want to relive over and over.”

Ottawa coach Joe Tokarz said it was a culmination of everything coming together.

“It was a wonderful moment,” Tokarz said. “It was a great feeling.”

Hittle was the defending state champion. He broke a leg during football, so he did not wrestle until the end of the season. He dominated everybody up to the state title match.

“He is a great wrestler,” Weidl said. “It was not easy. I went in with confidence. I knew I wanted that 100th win. I wanted to end my high school career with a victory.

“The first period I pushed him and pushed him to get him as much out of shape as I could. The second period is where it turned in my favor. I scored the first points and got him on his back for a near fall. I rode him out from there. He was not in good as shape as me. That was the plan ... third period have him out of breath. I got in good scoring position. I had the opportunity and took it. I stayed in control. I wrestled smart.”

Wrestling is not just a physical battle.

“Wrestling is a mental game,” Weidl said. “You have to be mentally ready. I was in all my matches. I had my goals and achieved them.”

Tokarz said Weidl had the right mix of mental framework.

“He was confident in all his matches,” Tokarz said. “He knew what he wanted to do.”

It was a dream season. Weidl went 39-3 and finished his high school career at 100-21.

“He had an outstanding season,” Tokarz said.

Weidl said, “This year was really crazy. It started off really good. I had a couple of losses and it let me know where I was at and I worked even harder. I ended up in the right spot.

“I was a state qualifier as a junior and had to lead a bunch of younger underclassmen. I had to push everyone to do their best. I had to push myself twice as hard. It definitely helped me. I was trying to be the role model I wanted to have.”

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