January 24, 2013

Aching for a chance

Dalton wrestler Dylan Carlile driven in comeback from injury

During the 2011-12 traditional postseason, Dalton High sophomore Sidney Wheeler became one of the hottest wrestlers in the state, making a surprising sweep through the Area 7-3A and Class 3A West sectional tournaments before claiming the 182-pound state title by beating West Laurens senior Demetrius Green.

But for one of Wheeler’s classmates on the team, the celebration was somewhat bittersweet. Dylan Carlile was happy for his teammate but nagged by the thought of what might have been for himself.

That’s because Carlile had been enjoying a strong postseason run as well, finishing third at the Area 7-3A traditional tournament. Because Northwest Georgia produces a good share of state medalists each season, the Catamounts underclassman’s goal of a state title was not unreasonable.

But the week after his third-place finish at area, Carlile suffered a devastating injury in the first round of the sectional tournament — a broken collarbone that happened when he was slammed to the mat — that brought his year to a painful close. Instead of being a participant at the state tournament, the 120-pounder was reduced to spectator and cheerleader for his teammates, Wheeler and senior Reinaldo Torres, who also earned a medal by finishing fifth at 145 pounds.

Carlile finished his sophomore season — which also included a third-place finish at the Murray Invitational — with a 36-19 record, and he was selected for The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Wrestling Team after earning honorable mention for the team as a freshman.

Torres also made the team, while Wheeler was honored as Wrestler of the Year.

“Seeing Reinaldo and Sidney do so well at state, it was upsetting, but it was a positive thing, too, because I think it did make me hungrier,” Carlile said. “When (the injury) happened, I cried. It wasn’t the pain that I felt in my shoulder, though. It was knowing how close I was and how well I was doing at the end of the season.”

Carlile will soon have his next chance at making a run for the state title, with the journey starting with the Area 7-4A traditional tournament Feb. 1-2 at Gilmer High. The traditional postseason is what Carlile has spent the past year thinking about, training for and working toward, and it has shown, because his season has been most impressive.

The junior’s 52-4 mark this season includes 43 pins, and he recorded 23 pins in a stretch of 25 straight victories. This past weekend, he was second at the Murray Invitational, losing the title match 3-1 to Ringgold’s Sam Sheppard, a state finalist last year. Carlile lost twice at the prestigious Bradley Invitational, with one of those losses coming to the defending Alabama state champion.

“All of his match losses have been what you would consider quality losses,” Dalton coach Michael Keefe said. “He is getting close. He has trained so hard and the training alone that he has put in puts him at the top. If he ... wrestles his kind of match, there is no one at state who is going to beat him.”

It’s been a long road back to this point, though. Long and sometimes frustrating.

“I spent the better part of a month on the couch, holding my arm just so, and I am not a guy who likes to sit around,” Carlile said. “I feel like because I came out on the short end last year, I am flying pretty much under the radar this year. I want people to know that I am a force to be reckoned with and be someone they are talking about going into next year.”

Keefe said Carlile has done everything he can to give himself another opportunity, including doing extra workouts outside of the team’s practices.

“He was upset he didn’t get to wrestle at state, but since then he has been the hardest worker on the team,” Keefe said. “... He does everything he can to get better.”

Carlile believes his training has him at his physical peak, but he knows he must now overcome a mental hurdle. In the back of his mind, he recognizes that one takedown by an opponent could put him back on the sidelines. Once you have been injured on the mat, it hangs around with you, Carlile said.

“Mentally, you have to block that freak accident out, but it isn’t easy to do,” Carlile said. “I have gotten some fear in my head, but you have to look past that and attack before the other person attacks you.”

Keefe said the mental aspect will be the difference in who claims the area and state titles.

“There are always three or four at the top as far as ability is concerned, but the one who is prepared off the mat is the one who usually wins,” Keefe said. “He is one of the best in the state, and if he believes that, he will win a title. But it is mental.”

Half the battle is that Carlile has recognized his fear and is ready to confront it.

“There is not a lot of definitive answers you can give for getting over it,” he said. “You just do. I have thought about that a lot, and I think that I have gotten that fear out of my head. You just have to keep fighting on.

“It is do or die right now, and if you think too much, it can be a problem. It is a fine line. Two of the guys I lost to, I lost to them in the past, and I wrestled very conservatively with them. I needed to get rid of that fear.”

Text Only
  • Dalton State College hires Kerem Daser as soccer director

    Dalton State College athletic director Derek Waugh said Tuesday that Kerem Daser, a veteran soccer coach, is the Roadrunners’ new soccer director.

    July 29, 2014

  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Devin Golden's sports updates
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating