Campbell making strides for Rams this season

Dylan Campbell

STRASBURG — Dylan Campbell has been coming into his own this season, and it showed this past weekend when he won his first regional wrestling title.

The Strasburg sophomore has made some real strides this season, and it was on full display in his 7-4 win over King William’s Kevin Overstreet in the 126-pound Region 2A East final. Campbell was down 4-0 in the first period to Overstreet, who was ranked as one of the top two wrestlers in the 126-pound class.

“He wrestled well to come back,” Strasburg coach Mike Wood said. “In the past, he’s not been a great comeback wrestler.”

Wood said that Campbell’s maturity, especially mentally, has been one of his biggest improvements since his freshman season, and that helped Campbell respond to adversity.

Campbell has also struggled in the past with more physical, bigger wrestlers, but in the region final he showed great improvement there as well.

“They can be all big and strong and they can be all physical, but if you’re better technically you got them. So that’s really helped me,” Campbell said. “[Overstreet] was bigger than me, not taller, but he was strong and he was physical. I did exactly what I said I would do. I said I would stay away from his strength and really tire him out. I definitely had him in conditioning.”

Campbell’s first region title helped earn him the Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for Feb. 8-14.

Campbell went 4-0, including two pins, in winning the 126-pound title. He was solid all day, but coming from behind to win in the final was certainly the highlight of the day for Campbell.

He was able to cut the lead to 4-1 after the first period, and then tied it at 4-4 heading into the third period. Campbell said coming from behind definitely made winning even sweeter.

“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, this kid’s down 4-0. He’s not going to win this match,'” Campbell said. “It was really cool coming back and winning it.”

Last year as a freshman, Campbell placed second in the region and fifth in the state at 113.

He said he learned a lot from last season. Campbell said it was tough moving up two weight classes to 126 this year. He said he’s grown a few inches, and his height has been one thing that has helped him out.

Campbell had some early losses against quality competition, including in the Powerade tournament in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on Dec. 29-30. He said that tournament helped him and the team improve this season.

“We realized that we’ve got to start picking it up because we went down to Powerade and got our butts whupped,” Campbell said. “We were like, ‘We’ve got to start picking it up in practice,’ and that really helped us. That’s when my table started to turn, and I realized that we got to pick it up if we want a state title.”

Campbell said he began wrestling in sixth grade, mostly because his brother wrestled. Of course, his brother, Nic, isn’t just any wrestler.

Strasburg senior Nic Campbell, who has already signed a letter of intent to wrestle at George Mason University next year, will try to become Strasburg’s first four-time state champion this weekend at the state tournament.

“He’s helped me a lot,” Dylan Campbell said. “He really pumps me up before the matches, giving me a whole lot of confidence boosters and everything. Wrestling with him all the time really helps too, especially being as good as he is.”

Wood said that having an older brother who is that successful can be a good or a bad thing, but in the case of the Campbells it’s a positive.

“Nic helps him. Nic’s a good mentor,” Wood said. “In practice he always helps him. When he’s wrestling, he’s always right there by the side of the mat rooting him on, and vice versa, Dylan with Nic. So it’s a good relationship.”

Both Dylan and Nic Campbell also run cross country, where this season Dylan was second on the team most of the season ahead of his older brother.

“We’re always battling to see who could be the best at everything. I got him in cross country, so I guess he gets me in wrestling,” Dylan Campbell said with a smile.

The Rams finished second in the Region 2A East tournament as a team, just one point behind Clarke County.

Strasburg has six wrestlers going to the state tournament, while Clarke County is sending 10 and defending Group 2A champion Grundy has seven. Dylan Campbell said he feels confident about Strasburg’s chances despite the numbers.

“I’m expecting to go there and I’m expecting to do really good,” Dylan Campbell said. “I want our team to do really good, and I want to show Grundy and Clarke that we can take six and we can pull it off. We have six really good wrestlers going down, and I feel like we could pull it off.”

Dylan Campbell is also looking to capture his first state title, and said winning the regional title has helped his confidence.

“It’s just given me motivation to go down to states and prove that I’m worthy of this region title,” Dylan Campbell said. ” I feel like my chances are pretty good. I have studs in my weight class, but they’re beatable — everyone’s beatable.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com