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If you had Dayin Godberson as having the best winning percentage through the Vandalia wrestling team’s first two weeks, please stand up.
The second-year wrestler garnered far less attention than some of his fellow seniors coming into the season, but he has compiled a 7-1 record so far this season and has no intention of slowing down.
“I have to keep wrestling like I am,” Godberson said. “I miss a few things that separate a good wrestler from a better wrestler, but I know what I need to work on.”
The 182-pounder suffered his only loss of the season on Saturday, falling in a narrow 3-1 decision to Herrin’s Drake Holland – who was a state qualifier last season at 145 pounds and is someone Godberson is convinced he could beat later in the season.
Also during that day, Godberson defeated Leroy’s Caleb Wilson – a junior high state qualifier last season – 3-1, and pinned Oakwood’s Dusty Hutson in 37 seconds.
Godberson also posted pins in the team’s first two dual team meets and won an individual championship at the Civic Memorial Tournament at the beginning of the month.
“He has a lot of physical ability, and he works hard,” said coach Jason Clay. “He’s a fighter who gives you all he’s got, and he’s starting to get some confidence.”
It also doesn’t hurt to be able to learn from a pair of returning state qualifiers on a daily basis.
Levi Ulmer and Daniel Edwards both made the individual state tournament last season, and Godberson believes he will be joining them – and a few others – in Champaign next February.
Beating either of them in practice, on the other hand, might be just as big of a challenge.
“Levi is a step ahead of me, and he is always pushing me to get better and better,” Godberson said. “He’s that kid that you can never quite beat (in practice).”
Edwards is the same way, and Godberson said he hopes to improve his finesse and technique by battling him in practice.
But once Godberson is on the mat in a meet or tournament, it’s all up to him, and the fact that he has only wrestled for two seasons may actually help his chances at victory.
“I think it might,” he said. “You wrestle to your strengths, because you aren’t thinking about how you saw them wrestle someone else.”
How far Godberson can ride that ignorance is yet to be seen, but as long as he continues wrestling for team and individual achievement, there’s little doubt he’ll be a major contributor if the Vandals make the state tournament as a team.
He said there was no feeling like the one after he won his weight bracket at Civic Memorial and that he is honored to be finding success in a storied program, but he still maintains a team-first attitude.
“The spotlight is on you here, even though we are a team,” Godberson said. “I’m always wanting to get the pin for the team, but there’s always that individualism, too.”
And he might as well think that way, because attaining individual success to help a team accomplish its tasks is going to be a permanent fixture of Godberson’s post-high school life.
“I’ve always wanted to be the best that I can be, and I want to go into the military so I can be the best I can be,” he said.
He has an interest in flying – which he has done in four- and six-passenger planes since he was a freshman – and he hopes that sometime during his military career that he will fly for the Marines.
And what’s a better way to shape up for the Marines than by giving it his all every day for a wrestling team that never rests on its laurels?
Godberson, for one, wouldn’t know.