In the spotlight this week is Auburn High's Dylan Pearson, a junior wrestler for the Tigers.
Auburn Villager: In general, how is the season going so far?
Dylan Pearson: It's going good. We have some new coaches this year, and a lot of different atmosphere in the room. That's been a big help for our success this year.
AV: Has anything changed now that you have new coaches?
DP: Yeah. Our practices have changed and just the way we practice, the things we go over. Sometimes, we play games. We change it up; it's not the same thing every day.
AV: You've been wrestling since the first grade, but has been getting new coaches and a fresh set of eyes on how you wrestle helped?
DP: Yes. One of our coaches is 24. He's super-young. I wrestle with him all the time, so it helps because he knows how I wrestle. We kind of connect on that level. We know how each other wrestle, and he can help me in matches, and he knows what I'm thinking, just what I'm supposed to do.
AV: As a longtime wrestler, were there any techniques you tried to develop this year?
DP: Absolutely. We change things every year. We go over the same sequences and moves we do, but every year we try to build on what we learned last year. And just having a coach that wrestled in high school, that helps me because I can learn a different set of moves and he can also learn from me.
AV: Are you still in the 152-pound weight class?
DP: No. I went up three weight classes this year. I'm at 182 this year.
AV: Was it a challenge moving up to that weight class or a transition period?
DP: There definitely was because last year I was cutting all the way to stay at 152, and 182 is more my natural weight, so I can really eat whatever I want. I can practice hard and have a lot of energy. But I definitely put on a lot of muscle since 152 and that helps a lot. But once you get over, just straight muscle, you built that up and it helps because you're equal. And I just feel better at this weight class.
AV: Moving up to 182 pits you against new wrestlers. Have you developed any new rivalries?
DP: There's only been I think two matches this whole year that I've actually gone three rounds, so there have been hard matches, tough matches, but I feel like I've been training the whole year for this, so that's helped me with those matches. Those three-round matches are a little bit tougher because I'm not used to wrestling the whole three rounds. As long as I wrestle smart and think about what I'm doing, I usually do pretty well.
AV: Last year, you told me that staying under 152 was your biggest challenge. What is it now that you've moved up to 182?
DP: The biggest challenge is I have to do very little weight management. But it's not bad. I can eat, for the most part, whatever I want. I feel healthy. But the day of, I have to make sure I'm right under the weight class. That's not a huge hurdle. One of the big things is just getting warmed up. That's been my problem this year, just having a good warm up and staying warm before the matches, and then exploding during the match and really getting the heart rate up.
AV: You have state coming up this week. What's your goal?
DP: Of course, a state championship. I placed first at sectionals. It was an eight-man bracket.
AV: You have a whole year of school left, but have you started looking forward to what you want to do in the future?
DP: I have. I've looked at different wrestling programs in the nation and different future career paths that I would want to do, and if those schools line up with those certain career paths that they offer.
AV: Do you have a dream school?
DP: Well, my dream is become a pilot, so Auburn is definitely appealing, so that doesn't necessarily mean wrestling. Penn State has a good aviation program, and that's definitely a good school to go to.