WILLIAMSTOWN - Williamstown senior Dalton George, who was one victory away his sophomore year from potentially being a four-time state champion, has been honored with the 30th annual Robert Dutton Award, given annually to the Mountain State's best wrestler by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association..
George capped off his 153rd career win against 11 losses earlier this month when he secured his third state crown. He captured the 132-pound Class AA/A title when he won a 5-4 overtime rideout against defending champion Dustin Yoakum of Greenbrier West.
"This is a real big deal right here," said George, who was runner-up at 113 as a sophomore and claimed titles at 103 as a ninth-grader and at 126 as a junior. "It's something to win another title, but I wanted to do something only Mike Mason (1993 co-Dutton Award winner with North Marion's Doug Moore) has ever done (at Williamstown).
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
Williamstown’s Dalton George lifts Greenbrier West’s Dustin Yoakum off the mat during their 132-pound championship match in the West Virginia Class A-AA state tournament in Huntington. George, who is the 2014 recipient of the Robert Dutton Award, finished with three state titles and a runner-up finish. His career record was 153-11.
"It really didn't hit me at first. It's starting to sink in. Being able to look back, I was a three-time state champion, I did win the Dutton and having one person (Mason) to do that and him being a Division I All-American (at West Virginia University), that's always going to hold a special place in my heart."
Williamstown head mat coach Ryan Scott admitted, "it's going to be hard to replace a guy like Dalton in the room.
"His dad (Kevin) was the 145-pound state champion (at Williamstown) in 1983 and was on state title teams in 1982 and 1983."
Preston High School senior and future Wheeling Jesuit Cardinal Terrance Fanning, a two-time state champion who didn't allow a single takedown this year, followed George in the voting. Buckhannon-Upshur's Seth Cutright and Winfield's Bryce Humphreys also received strong consideration. The senior Cutright and the junior Humphreys captured their second career mat crowns.
"Everything that has ever happened to me in my life I've got to thank my mom (Patsy), my brother (Tyler), my sister (Shania) and my grandma (Sandy)," said George, whose father died in a car wreck before Dalton was school age. "If it wasn't for them I don't know what I'd be doing right now."
This past week, the senior pole vaulter for the Yellowjacket track squad gave a verbal commitment to continue his wrestling career at Ohio Valley University.
"I wanted to stay around here and I wanted to stay involved with the Williamstown wrestling program and be around my family," George said of his reasoning to become a Fighting Scot.
"The way I look at it you can't make any money wrestling the rest of your life and I might as well get a free education. I'm going to get a business administration degree and see where it takes me."
Despite the 3-1 loss to Oak Glen's Zack Brown in the state finals at 113 as sophomore, George said that helped shape his career moving forward.
"I heard it all year to move up or down a weight class and I could win it there," he recalled of his 10th-grade campaign. "I had it in my mind I was going to beat the kid and that's the way I am.
"It is what it is and I lost to a real good kid. I lost by a couple points in the finals. Really, that boosted me and sparked me and got a little fire under me for my last two years."
Sponsored by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, the Dutton Award is voted upon by a statewide panel and is named in honor of legendary Parkersburg High School mat coach Robert Dutton.
Dutton guided the Big Reds from 1957-76.
George will be presented his award on Sunday, May 4, in Charleston at the annual Victory Awards Dinner.