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Northwest wrestler wins with support in the stands

Published March 1 at 8:45 p.m. | Last updated March 2 at 9:29 a.m.

PARK CITY — Northwest’s Dylan Beckner had just become a state champion, but he was preoccupied.

After the referee raised his hand and he completed his handshakes, Beckner snuck one glance into the rafters at Hartman Arena and took off.

Over the barrier, through a crowd, and up a flight of steps, Beckner didn’t stop running until he arrived into the arms of his mother, Deanna LeClair, who woke up before dawn Saturday morning to drive 600-plus miles home from South Dakota, where she was on a business trip.

“It was the proudest moment I have ever had as a mother,” said LeClair, as tears streamed down her face.

Beckner knew his mom would make an effort to make it to Park City in time, but did not expect her there. While he was warming up for the 145-pound championship match, the seventh match of the day in Class 6A, Beckner couldn’t stop looking up where the Northwest wrestling parents had assembled.

And then, three matches into the day, his stomach flipped over. There she was.

“I couldn’t lose,” Beckner said. “My mom was there, it’s my senior year.… I couldn’t let anyone down.”

That type of confidence is rare from a wrestler of Beckner’s upbringing. He didn’t start wrestling until his freshman season at Northwest and didn’t make the varsity lineup until he was a junior.

There was a considerable gap in his technical work on the mat between him and other elite wrestlers. But Beckner began to narrow it this season after he committed himself to improving in that aspect, going as far as staying up until 3 a.m. watching YouTube video of his favorite wrestlers.

He may not be able to out-maneuver an opponent tactically, but Beckner still has the one thing that separates him.

“He is such a tough kid and has so much heart,” Northwest coach Eric Prichard said. “He’s a grinder. There’s not a lot of technique there because he’s only been at it for four years, but he’s a tough kid that knows the basic moves and just gets after it.”

That was the Beckner that stepped on the mat Saturday to take on Olathe North’s Nick Haug for the championship.

That was the Beckner that grinded another match out, scoring a takedown early in the third period for a 3-0 lead, which provided enough cushion to survive a 3-2 decision.

That was the Beckner that entered high school never having wrestled a match and left it a two-time state finalist and now a state champion.

“It’s a motivator that anything can really happen, you just got to work hard,” Beckner said. “I don’t pump all that weight and work that hard for no reason. I got to perform.”

It was Beckner’s mom that told him that he could have whatever he wanted, if he worked for it.

And it was those words that Beckner clung to, all the way to a state championship.

So when Beckner reached his mother and wrapped her in a sweaty hug, it symbolized more than a precious moment between a mother and her child.

It was his way of saying thanks.

“I’m so proud of him,” LeClair said as more tears fell. “He’s an amazing kid. He’s just amazing.”

Northwest's Dylan Beckner, 6A 145-pound champ

Class 6A and 5A Parade of champions