Blue Jay heavyweight Dalton Darby getting big win this season
Dalton Darby, the Blue Jays' starting heavyweight, is ranked third in the state in the sport of boys wrestling.
JAMESTOWN — Dalton Darby's off-season training schedule is quite strenuous.
"It's pretty complex," Darby said. "I eat and work at my job and maybe do a little fishing. That is my off-season."
Combined with his in-season training schedule, the Jamestown High School senior wrestler has been one busy bee this last year.
Darby is the Jays' starting heavyweight wrestler this season. The senior is currently ranked third in the state. In terms of WDA duals, Darby ended his conference schedule with a record of 8-2. The senior's only losses came against Bismarck Legacy's Treyson Renken and Nivon Hayes of Watford City. Hayes is ranked as the top heavyweight in the state while Renken is ranked fourth. Six of Darby's eight wins have come by pin.
"I was kinda surprised when early polls came out and I was ranked No. 6 but with a little hard work I am No. 3," Darby said. "Is always the goal is to be ranked."
Darby's wrestling career began in kindergarten.
"My mom and dad thought might help with my ADHD," Darby said. "I have continued wrestling because enjoy wrestling and hope to continue to get better, and because my dad won't let me give up. I have literally competed in every weight bracket from 60 to 285 pounds. My favorite was 95 pounds when I won my first folkstyle championship."
Darby first began wrestling for the Blue Jay varsity wrestling squad as a freshman. As a freshman, Darby was 0-1 in the WDA. A year later, he improved to 3-3 in terms of conference duals. His first two years, Darby competed at 220 and 195 pounds.
In his opening two years on the team, he also had former JHS heavyweights, Damien Krebs and Austin Kessler on the team to help him improve as more of a true heavyweight.
"Working with them was very helpful because they would consistantly push me hard and give me tips on how to get better," Darby said. "I do believe I have the capability of being number 1 in the state."
Last season, Darby bettered his record for the third-straight year, going 4-1 in conference. Darby wound up placing sixth at the 2022 State Wrestling Tournament.
"Placing sixth last year motivated me to do better this year," Darby said.
So what goes into heavyweight training?
"Shhhhh, don't tell the rest but I can eat what I want," Darby said with a laugh. "Training means you have to find someone on your team big enough to wrestle with. You have to be stronger and faster than your opponent (to get a win)."
Darby is currently the only heavyweight on the Blue Jay roster but he does have the advantage of having some experienced coaches and teammates that can wrap him up during a practice or warmup session.
Darby and the Blue Jays are headed to the West Region wrestling tournament this weekend in Williston. There are currently seven individual, Blue Jay wrestlers who are ranked within the top six in their respective weight classes. According to the final 2023 Coaches Poll, the Blue Jays are ranked as the second-best in the West Region as a team. In the state, The Jays are ranked third in the state as a team.
"I would really like to thank Coach Eslick, Coach Schlosser, Coach Jason Anderson, Coach Jeremy Braun and all my teammates for all the help and for always believing in me," Darby said.