Newton’s Dillon Archer relies on more than his family’s history of prominent wrestlers to find success in the sport. His personal experience and drive to improve has set him apart from his competition this season.
“(Archer’s) the model student of the sport. He’s constantly trying to get better,” Newton coach Jude Wilson said. “He’s not someone who’s satisfied with where he’s at right now, he’s constantly trying new things. He’s really one that we try to point out to the younger kids as far as doing all the right things.”
Archer wrestles at 195 pounds for the Railers, and has helped lead them to a 7-0 record in duals and top-three finishes in each of their six tournaments this season. Archer has one loss, to Preston Weigel from Hays.
“We have some strong lighter weights, but if you compare us with teams across the state, the place where we can beat the good teams is in our higher weights,” Wilson said. “The biggest thing for Dillon is that he has so much different stuff. He has a couple go-to moves, but really if they’re not working for him he has something else to go to. The variety of technique he has in his arsenal is tough to deal with.”
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After qualifying but not placing at the state tournament his freshman and sophomore years, Archer was the state champion at 195 last season. He is ranked second in the state at his weight class under Weigel.
“I think he needs to focus on doing the things he does well even better and be sure he doesn’t look past anybody,” Wilson said. “I think he’s enjoying the sport and I think that’s his primary focus to enjoy what’s going on around him and enjoy what he’s going through right now. I think that’s a big reason why he’s having success.”
Wilson looks to Archer to lead Newton’s team, which is ranked fourth in the state.
“Every time you see Dillon you can say, ‘Look at what Dillon’s doing, this is what you need to model.’ It doesn’t matter when you see him or what he’s doing,” Wilson said.
East in transition — The loss of one of East’s top wrestlers, Deonta Thomas, to a knee injury could have discouraged the team, but instead it strengthened its momentum.
Thomas was a steady finisher in the top five at tournaments, and scored points for East at its first four duals.
“Obviously nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, and he is a strong athlete and whether he notices or not is in the position to be a leader,” East coach Roy Oeser said. “Other people look up to him and I think others realize that they just have to hone their techniques to get better each time they wrestle.”
After a 51-24 win at its opening dual against Southeast, East lost its next four duals. East finished seventh in both of its first tournaments, but did not see the top 10 in the other three.
But Oeser said East is improving, getting three wrestlers in the consolation finals at its last tournament, and only falling to West in its last dual by six points without Thomas.
“I sat down with the team and I told them that I needed to do a better job, but then they had to do a better job, too,” Oeser said. “We’re looking at moving forward together, and we are.”
City League’s top two — Northwest’s City League lead will be challenged again Thursday when it faces second-place Kapaun at Northwest. Kapaun is 4-1 in the City League, while Northwest is undefeated.