By Brad Fauber
Skyline wrestler Dustin Santmyers has always been about putting the team first. Hawks coach Matt Keel says that's what makes the senior such a special member of Skyline's team.
But going into the first round of Skyline's annual Appalachian Duals wrestling tournament last Friday, Santmyers was understandably a little more concerned than usual about the upcoming match on a personal level. After all, Santmyers' next win would be the 100th of his high school career.
"I was a little bit nervous going into my 100th win, but I did what I had to do," Santmyers said on Monday. "I was a little worried about getting too hyped up, but I just treated it like any other wrestling match."
Santmyers, wrestling at 160 pounds after competing at 152 last season, didn't have to wait long to hit the coveted century mark.
In Skyline's first match of the day against Bishop O'Connell, Hawks junior Joey Huston (152) started things off by pinning his opponent in just 1 minute, 53 seconds to quickly set up Santmyers' first shot at his 100th victory against Bishop O'Connell's Gabe Susinski.
Santmyers took over from there, as he scored an early takedown on Susinski before pinning him at the 1:38 mark.
"It was pretty cool. It was awesome to get it in front of our student section," Santmyers said.
"It's a big milestone," Keel said, who added that Skyline has only had a "handful" of wrestlers reach 100 career victories. "It's a testament to longevity and it's a testament to wrestling at the varsity level as a freshman and a sophomore."
The win was just the start of what would be a stellar weekend for Santmyers, who ended the two-day tournament with a perfect 6-0 record that including three pins, two major decisions and a tech fall. Santmyers, who helped Skyline win the Appalachian Duals for the first time in the tournament's seven-year history, is The Northern Virginia Daily's Male Athlete of the Week for the week of Dec. 15-21.
"I knew my responsibility as a captain was to get as many team points as I could," Santmyers said. "We performed completely as a team and there is no way that we would've been there without everyone."
Skyline went unbeaten in six matches in the tournament, and Santmyers was right there leading the charge for the Hawks.
Santmyers keyed a 42-24 win over Annandale on Friday with a 21-3 tech fall victory to start the match, and he later helped the Hawks to a 57-18 victory over Strasburg by grinding out a 10-2 win over senior Tyler Drummond, who was a Group A state qualifier for the Rams last season.
"By the time we got to Dustin [against Strasburg], we knew he was going against a good wrestler and he kind of put the exclamation point on it," Keel said.
On Saturday, Santmyers continued to dominate on the mat, as he recorded a pin against Centreville and a major decision win against Woodgrove to help Skyline advance to the championship match against Lake Braddock.
Santmyers pinned Lake Braddock's Andrew Neidringhaus in four minutes, 29 seconds to give the Hawks a 22-3 lead, and Skyline was able to hold off a late surge by the Bruins for a 37-36 win.
Keel said Santmyers has the ability to win a 3A state championship this season, and Santmyers -- who won the 152-pound Northwestern District title and placed sixth at the Group AA state meet last season -- certainly has his sights set for the top of the podium this year.
"I knew when I stood on the podium last year that that was all I wanted," Santmyers said. "I won't settle for anything else."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD