HUNTINGTON -Suffice it to say when Dalton George won his third state wrestling crown Saturday night inside the Big Sandy Superstore Arena he put himself into some elite company at Williamstown High School.
George’s 5-4 triple-overtime rideout win at 132 against Greenbrier West’s Dustin Yoakum, the defending 132-pound Class AA/A state champion, made the senior the fifth Yellowjacket ever to claim three individual titles. George, a state runner-up at 113 as a 10th-grader, claimed crowns at 103 as a freshman and last year at 126. Now, he joins Dan Rowell (1981-83), Mike Mason (1991-93), Ash Wenmoth (1998-2000) and Shane Smith (2002-04) on the list of WHS three-time champions.
“I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet, but I’m sure it will,” said George, who led 2-0 after one and 3-0 heading into the third before allowing an escape, getting charged with a penalty point for an illegal slam and then giving up a takedown to trail 4-3.
However, the ‘Jacket got an escape to force overtime and nearly turned Yoakum in the 30-second extra session before riding him out to finish his career in style.
“I’ll tell you, there is no other way I’d rather go out,” added George, who was honored as the Class AA/A Most Outstanding Wrestler. “Third championship, I’ll take it, man. Triple-overtime, six overtimes, whatever it takes, I’ll get it done.”
Indeed that was the case as there was going to be no denying George on Saturday night. He even had a brief 20-second delay to stop a nosebleed in his left nostril.
“It was like the old times, nose bleeds all the time,” George quipped as he added about having the choice of going down or trying to ride Yoakum out “I had to really think it through.
“I had to really think it through and talk to my coaches and I figured I’d take top and I can ride anyone and I showed that.”
Of his three crowns, George stated, “this is the most special one, you know, going out like that in triple-overtime and the whole state seeing it. You couldn’t ask for a better state tournament and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
When asked if there was ever a moment when he allowed doubt to creep into his mind, George finished with “Never. I’d really just like to dedicate everything to my family, my coaches, my mom.
“She’s always been there for me and my brother has always been there for me and my sister. If it wasn’t for those people and my grandma, man, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing.”
Although George will take some time away from the mat and be on the track this spring as a pole vaulter for the Yellowjackets, he’s far from being done with wrestling.
“I’m going to college,” he said. “I haven’t decided where.”