Dalton Perry, 13, is two-time state wrestling champion, second in US
By KEVIN RAUCH
For The Express
RENOVO –At just 87 pounds, he walks quietly around as a two-time state champion in both Freestyle and Greco Roman wrestling as well as a second in the country finisher in Freestyle.
He finished his Central Mountain 7th grade season at 25-0 and quite possible may be the most dedicated person at a specific goal that you will ever meet.
If you didn’t know this about 13 year-old Dalton Perry and passed him by on the street or in a store, you’d likely have no idea what truly amazing accomplishments he has accumulated.
Not that he spends much time walking around or shopping, as that would cut into his wrestling time.
Dalton is the son of D.J. and Carrie Perry of Shintown and chances are the youngster’s wake-up routine alone would envy anyone.
A typical morning sees him rise out of bed and do 300 push-ups and 100 pull-ups. His practices from there, yes plural, depend on the time of year, but typically he’ll attend Central Mountain practice with two-time state champion and All American at Penn State University Biff Walizer as well as Lock Haven University LHU standout Dylan Caprio. After that, twice a week he’s off to Pleasant Gap where he trains under Freestyle and Folkstyle world champ David Taylor and yet another All American at Penn State, Mark McKnight.
When asked how they possibly each hold down jobs and get Dalton to all of his commitments, D.J. laughs, “it’s not easy”.
D.J. explains that his dad, Dalton’s grandfather, Dick Perry helps a lot. The family also has friends in the Lock Haven area who can be counted on for rides and dinner on many of the nights in between Central Mountain practice and additional guidance under Taylor and McKnight at the M2 Training Center.
The local travel. although tedious and monotonous, is certainly much closer to home than many of Dalton’s matches. The more successful he is, the farther his accomplishments take him … literally as well as geographically.
Following his undefeated regular season this past spring was states where Dalton captured state championship honors in both the Freestyle and Greco Roman categories and was runner up in the PA State Folkstyle. This made him back to back state champion, as he had done the same at the end of his 2018 season.
Dalton’s 2018 titles were followed by a second in the country in Freestyle where he lost by just one point in the USA championship match in Atlanta, Ga. Dalton’s older brother Richard graduated from Bucktail this month, so those family commitments led him to taking the year off of competing at a national level.
A 25-0 inaugural junior high season also led Dalton to making the Schoolboy Team, a Pennsylvania All-Star team. Team PA went undefeated as they battled the country’s best from 38 other states. The Shintown boy went undefeated and had a clutch win in Team PA’s championship victory over Team Oklahoma on the mats in Indianapolis, Ind.
D.J. estimates that Dalton has wrestled in 20 states as far away as Las Vegas, Nev. The family has made nearly all of those trips to places like Georgia and Iowa by car .
When asked where Dalton’s elite motivation and talent come from, D.J .gets to brag about one his son’s favorite attributes — his humble nature.
“He doesn’t celebrate. He doesn’t show off. I’m sure some his friends have no idea how successful he has been as a wrestler. He doesn’t talk about it” the father says of his son.
“He has literally won state championships and there was no emotion. You never would have known what he had just done,” his father continues. D.J. did mention that last year’s (2018) state titles occurred in Chambersburg so when Central Mountain hosted this year’s state championships there was a certain buzz in the air with the wins coming on his home mats.
On the other hand, the drive comes from not wanting to lose. D.J. says he’s not outwardly upset when things don’t go his way, but Dalton just doesn’t want to put himself in that situation on the mat.
“He realizes that to be the best, you have to be the hardest worker. That’s where he knows he has to dedicate himself and what drives him,” D.J. said.
One can almost guess the ultimate goal for an extraordinary young kid whose motivation is simply something that most people are not born with or can ever achieve.
“He wants to wrestle D1 for Penn State and qualify for the Olympics,” D.J. says of his son.
Combined with his determination and support system, as lofty as those goals may seem, you can’t help but think that Dalton Perry — who has already represented Clinton County as admirably as possible –likely will be representing something a whole lot bigger some day.