Bulldogs gear up for wrestling’s ‘biggest stage’

PHOTOS BY MANDY GEISER

Austin Ryder placed first at the district tournament and heads to state this weekend.

Dalton’s Tate Geiser punched his ticket to the state tournament for the second year.

 

Freshman Greyson Siders is the second state qualifier in Dalton’s history.

Coaches Kenton Lemon, Timmy Knipl, Jeff Burris and Jason Boyer.

Dalton’s Eric Miller is a state alternate. He placed fifth at the district tournament.

Dalton’s Sean Geiser finished sixth at the district tournament.

Dalton’s Lucas Oswald wrestles at the district tournament.

PHOTOS BY MANDY GEISER
Dalton freshman Greyson Siders had a huge win Saturday morning. He became the second freshman state qualifier in Dalton High School’s history.

DGKN staff report

Three of Dalton’s wrestlers are statebound after this weekend’s district tournament and the program can boast about a fourth-place finish.

A post on the “Dalton Wrestling” Facebook page shared statistics showing how remarkably Dalton’s wrestling program has progressed in just a few years. In 2018, Dalton wrestlers finished 38th place with six points; in 2019, Dalton finished 31st place with 20 points; in 2020, they improved to 13th place with 52.5 points. This year, they came in fourth place with 87.5 points.

“We had a great weekend as a program,” Head Coach Kenton Lemon wrote in an email. “On Friday, we traveled to Garfield Heights High school for one of the four Division 3 District wrestling tournaments. We had seven guys competing: Branyan Zaleski (got in as an alternate), Greyson Siders, Tate Geiser, Lucas Oswald, Eric Miller, Sean Geiser and Austin Ryder.”

Lemon calls the last step before the state tournament a “rollercoaster weekend.”

“This is an extremely taxing weekend both mentally, and physically,” he wrote. “It’s the last major hurdle that you have to get to the biggest stage in high school wrestling.”

Greyson Siders got the team started with a huge win in the consi-semifinals on Saturday morning, Lemon wrote. Siders became the second freshman state qualifier in school history.

Tate Geiser bounced back after a great semifinal match and won his consi-semifinal match to punch his ticket to the state tournament for the second year, Lemon wrote.

“Austin (Ryder) had a very dominant weekend,” Lemon said. “He won his semifinal match 13-0 and won the championship at 220 lbs against Kaden Kidd (Norwayne) for the second week in a row.”

Eric Miller placed fifth and will be a state alternate. Sean Geiser finished sixth.

“I am very proud of our team,” Lemon wrote. “I told the team on Saturday night, I felt like we gave our best effort in each match that we wrestled. As a coach, it’s tough to ask for more than that. Would I have loved to get all six guys out? Absolutely, and that was our plan. Even though we didn’t get six guys out, it certainly was not because of a lack of effort. We finished fourth out of 45 teams, which is a huge accomplishment for our team.”

Siders, Ryder and Tate Geiser will travel to Marion Harding this weekend to compete at the state wrestling tournament.

“I cannot explain how excited I am for these guys and their families,” Lemon wrote. “They are seeing all of their extra work pay off and they get an opportunity to wrestle for a state title. We are going to have a great week of practice and Saturday morning we will head to Marion to wrestle the first matches of the weekend. This week at practice we will focus on our first matches. We will know who each guy wrestles in the first round on Monday afternoon when brackets get released. We are going to really focus on that first match because that is the most important match at this time. After that it’s one match at a time.

“It’s been quite a while since a Dalton wrestler has got to compete at the state tournament so we are excited to represent our community … As a coach, I know that each of these guys deserves to be wrestling next weekend and our goal is to continue to wrestle well on our feet and wear guys out. We will stick with what got us to this point and that is hard work, making sure we are in great shape, and being technically sound.”

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