Murray County High School Indians

January 25, 2014

The will to succeed

Dalton Lane 5-0 as Shorter places second at Collegiate Cup tourney

Dalton Lane won two Georgia High School Association wrestling state titles using speed, strength and every physical trait he possessed.

Not long into his college career, the former Murray County Indian figured out that wasn’t enough.

Lane is ranked second in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s 174-pound weight class and helped Rome’s Shorter University to a No. 2 coaches poll ranking entering this weekend’s Collegiate Cup tournament at the trade center, where Lane and the Hawks finished runner-up to top-ranked Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, Ariz.). The event serves as the NCWA’s national duals championship.

With his eye on an individual national title at the NCWA’s national traditional (individual-based) tournament in March in Allen, Texas, the redshirt sophomore has come a long way since 2011. That was his senior year of high school, when he won the Class 3A 152-pound title after winning the Class 4A 145-pound crown as a junior.

“Dalton has a lot of tenacity,” Shorter coach Josh Henson said. “He goes hard the whole time. In wrestling, that’s probably the biggest part. If you have a guy who is putting his 100 percent into the whole match, he can improve. ... He was pretty raw coming out of high school, but the main thing is he loves to wrestle and goes hard the whole time.”

Seeded fifth for the 24-team tournament, Shorter was one of eight teams that received a first-round bye and beat Auburn by forfeit in the second round before winning 50-6 against North Florida and 47-7 over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Saturday’s quarterfinals, Shorter won 32-14 against Central Florida, then beat Liberty University (Lynchburg, Va.) 23-16 in the semifinals.

In the finals, the Hawks lost 23-19 to Grand Canyon in a dual that came down to the final individual match. With the team score tied at 19 entering that bout, Grand Canyon heavyweight Peter Anguiano beat Shorter’s Marlen Morgan 12-4.

Lane won all five of his matches and in the Liberty victory beat Keyshaun Ward, the NCWA’s top-ranked wrestler at 174 pounds, 9-0 for a major decision and four team points. He earned another major decision victory in the finals, winning 10-3 versus Grand Canyon’s Austin Trujillo. Technical falls earn five points, which Lane did in a 17-1 domination of Central Florida’s Sean Mann. Pins earn six points, which Lane did against North Florida’s Austin Englehart and MIT’s Tyler Laprade.

“Not only will he win,” Henson said, “but he’ll also put up bonus points for your team.”

Liberty finished third in the tournament, The Apprentice School (Newport News, Va.) finished fourth and Central Florida rounded out the top five. Grand Valley State (Allendale, Mich.) finished sixth, followed by Mott Community College (Flint, Mich.), Middle Tennessee Tate, South Florida, Mercer, MIT, Florida Gulf Coast, Marion (Ala.) Military Institute, Stony Brook (N.Y.), East Tennessee State, Southern Virginia, Tennessee Temple, Texas, Connecticut, Toledo and South Carolina.

Success isn’t new to Lane, who was selected as The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Wrestler of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

“My comment then was, ‘It’s all Dalton,’” said Murray County coach Chris Thornbury, who coached Lane in high school. “He works his butt off, is a good student and is tough as nails. He had a thing in high school that as an adult you wish you had. He has this inner peace about him that he trains his best, does his best and works his best and is happy with that.

“I’d like to say we did so many things for him, but it didn’t matter where he went to high school, he’s so mentally tough that he’d overcome whatever obstacles.”

Yet, Lane still wasn’t quite “there” when he went to the next level. In his first match as a college wrestler, he was pinned.

“That’s how tough it was,” Lane said.

He always possessed the physical traits — and the aggressiveness — to succeed in high school. At college, he finally started learning how to outsmart opponents instead of just outworking them.

“It’s definitely more of a chess match,” said Lane, a nursing major. “You have to set up your shots and stuff. In high school, I’d just shoot off the whistle. That’s just how I was. I still have that, but I also like to set up myself a little more now than I used to, especially against a better guy.”

Lane started for the Hawks his freshman year and was redshirted last season. He has two full years of eligibility and should be around to help Shorter transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to NCAA Division II level. Shorter is currently a provisional Division II program, but can compete for titles starting next season.

“He has really sharpened his offensive attacks on his feet,” Henson said. “He’s a lot more technical with leg attacks and gets out of the 50/50 scrambles and controls the positions better. He’s just gotten a lot better with his setups. He has great leg attacks, so we’re really trying to focus him in that area.”

The NCWA is an organization designed to provide a competition venue for wrestling programs that are not members of NCAA conferences. With scholarship cuts and colleges complying with Title IX legislation for equality in sports by gender, many wrestling programs — including programs across the Southeast — have been reduced to the club level rather than having direct affiliation with their school’s athletics program.

Additionally, teams making the transition between levels that aren’t eligible for other postseason competition — like Shorter — are among those that take part in NCWA events. Last year’s champion, Lindenwood-St. Charles (Mo.), is now an NCAA member. Liberty, a program that was reduced to club level due to funding cuts, won the NCWA title in 2012 and was second last year.

Thornbury remembers thinking before Lane even started his college career that he could someday become an NCAA All-American wrestler.

“Whenever he decided to go to Shorter — and this was right after he graduated high school, when we heard they were going to the NCAA — my first thought was, ‘Hey, he could be an All-American right now.’”

And if Lane wants to continue his wrestling career beyond college and even to the Olympic level?

“I think if Dalton wants to do it,” Thornbury said, “then he can do it.”

But the 21-year-old isn’t thinking about that decision just yet.

Hsart and outwork the competition on his way to a national championship.

Text Only
Murray County High School Indians
  • Junior golf: Hicks able to hang for final round

    Despite giving up a few strokes from Monday’s opening round of 4-over-par 76, Dalton’s Landon Hicks was the only local competitor to advance to the third round of the Georgia Junior Championships.

    June 18, 2014

  • Isabel Salinas 5 mlh.jpg All-Area Spring Female Team: Salinas hoping things keep getting better and better with age

    Isabel Salinas’ freshman season for Southeast Whitfield High School’s track and field team wasn’t up to her standards, and she really isn’t sure why it ended up that way in 2013. It could have been her injuries. It could have been not being in proper shape.
    One thing Salinas, nicknamed “Izzy” by friends and coaches, does know is that her sophomore year went a lot better.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • poty seth.jpg All-Area Baseball Team and Player of the Year

    As a freshman at Northwest Whitfield High School, Seth Pierce came out of nowhere and was as dominant a pitcher as the area had. Finishing his “rookie” season with the Bruins, the left-handed Pierce led the area with nine victories — he also had one save — and showed overpowering dominance with a 9-3 record and 89 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. He finished his first season on the hill in Tunnel Hill with a 1.71 ERA while allowing 61 hits and 23 walks. Those numbers were also recorded against competition in a higher classification as the Bruins were playing Class 4A ball when the state had just five classifications. His performance earned him honors as 2012 The Daily Citizen All-Area Baseball Player of the Year.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • daltongirls.JPG Dalton girls finish second in Class 4A

    In the Class 4A girls state golf tournament last year, the Dalton High School team finished third at Nob North Golf Course. Monday, playing in the state championship at Waynesboro Country Club, the Lady Catamounts finished second by just two strokes.
    “There is just one more place left to win,” Dalton coach Nancy Hallsworth said. “They have the time ahead of them to do it.”

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Good day sends Dalton boys to state golf tourney

    With a spot in the Class 4A state tournament on the line, Dalton High School’s golf team put together one of its best rounds this season on a course coach Hunter Johnston said was as demanding as any the Catamounts had played this year.

    May 6, 2014

  • cchs v st pius boys tennis3.jpg Can’t win ’em all: Colts fall to St. Pius X

    VARNELL — Just as in other matches this season, there were handshakes and hugs awaiting the members of Coahulla Creek High School’s boys tennis team as they walked off the court Monday.
    Unfortunately for the Colts, this time they were of the comforting rather than the congratulating variety.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hopkins sisters 2 mlh.jpg Sectionals for sisters

    TUNNEL HILL — When you consider all of the hours of practice, all of the years of gymnastics training and the physical demands of being a cheerleader, the last word you would expect to hear an athlete use to describe herself is “lazy.”

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS at SE soccer 7 mlh.jpg Prep Roundup: Unbeaten streak rolls on for Cats

    Replicating the start of last year’s Class 4A state title match, Dalton High School’s boys soccer team needed just four minutes to score its first goal at Southeast Whitfield on Friday.
    The Catamounts scored five more — and again defended their crown of dominance in the sport.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup: Bruins power past Cats for key victory at home

    TUNNEL HILL — Similar to Wednesday’s Sub-region 7B-4A baseball series opener at Dalton High School, Northwest Whitfield fell behind early Thursday versus the Catamounts.

    April 11, 2014

  • Prep Roundup: Dalton golf teams in form at Fields Ferry

    Even in wet and muddy conditions, both the Dalton High School boys and girls golf teams are sharpening their games at the right time.
    With the Region 7-4A tournament scheduled in two weeks, both the Catamounts and the Lady Cats finished second during play at the Fields Ferry Invitational in Calhoun on Monday. Despite the soggy conditions, Dalton’s Jacob Brown tied for medalist honors with a 2-over par 74 to lead the Cats to a 313 combined score in the six-play, four-score format. Dalton finished three strokes behind tournament winner LaFayette.

    April 8, 2014