Building top-flight wrestlers has and always will be a long-term goal of The Dalles Middle School head coach Paul Beasley.
He can stake claim to moving ahead in that regard after this past weekend in Boardman.
JR Scott claimed championship status, Steven Preston picked up second-place honors and Michael Cloud grabbed third place to score trips to state after top efforts at the Regional Tournament on the campus of Riverside High School.
“The most impressive thing I took away from the Regional Tournament was the quality and toughness of the wrestlers,” Beasley said. “I have not witnessed a more competitive Regional. Our wrestlers showed the toughness and dedication we have demanded this season.”
Now that trio will be put to the test in preparation for the state meet this Saturday in Woodburn.
They will try to become the middle school’s first state champions since 2003 when Senu King accomplished that feat.
Current assistant coach Alexander Kramer scored third place in his middle schoolcareer and Scott is entering state action hoping to improve his fifth-place standing from 2014.
Scott, a 150-pound eighth-grader, dominated his way to first place with a couple of pins and some stout technical wrestling against one of the more competitive fields.
In the 90-pound classification, Preston, a seventh grader, battled strong with some quickness and skill to take hold of second place.
Cloud, a first-time wrestler in the heavyweight division, toppled many competitors in his wake enroute to a third-place record.
With the return of so many former coaches, namely Kevin Kramer and Rich Rolen, and former wrestlers, Alex Kramer and Colton Red Cloud, to name a few, Beasley said that TDMS is determined to move the program forward with high expectations for the wrestlers graduating to The Dalles High School.
“They bring years of wrestling excellence, both as state and national champions and TDHS coaches of many successful programs, state placers and state champions,” Beasley added. “We are determined to contribute to the long history of wrestling success in The Dalles and retain wrestlers to the high school level for Coach Greg Burkart and his staff to perfect.”
Aside from the state qualifiers, Yordi Sanchez, Andrew Richman, Abraham Vazquez, Eli Ferguson, Josiah Andersen, Brian Porter and Justin Bailey, the coach said that they set the bar very high for the next class of eighth graders.
“We had the hardest working and dedicated group of eighth graders, who we believe will begin to contribute immediately to the High School program,” Beasley said.
More than the individual success on the mats, Beasley is quick to note an emphasis is placed on building character through dedication, hard work and academics.
Any shortfall in one of those categories is unacceptable.
If the athletes can follow that line, then the sky is the limit, no matter what sport.
“With mandatory and daily study hall before practice, a demand for toughness on the mat and effort in academics, the wrestlers who stuck out the season should be as proud of themselves as we are of them.” Beasley said. “As a coaching staff, we are excited about the direction the program is going.”