After a taste of success, Sherando’s Dieter is chasing more on the wrestling mat

Sherando's Timmy Dieter wraps Liberty's Adin Lemus in a hold during a quad match Tuesday night at Handley High School. Dieter won the match with a pin. Rich Cooley/Daily

WINCHESTER – Timmy Dieter established himself as one of Sherando High School’s top wrestlers a season ago, capping his sophomore year by staking ak claim to one of the top four spots among 120 pounders in the VHSL Group 4A state tournament.

But as Warriors head coach Pepper Martin pointed out following a Northwestern District quad at Handley earlier this week, that success could very well be just a taste of things to come for the now 132-pound junior.

“He’s been on a mission ever since,” Martin said of Dieter on Tuesday. “I’m not sure if he took off a week. In the spring he lifted. He wrestled in a bunch of tournaments. He’d been working out with our wrestling club in the spring. He wrestled in the summer. He was at all the workouts in the fall. I mean he basically dedicated himself. He has a goal of being a state champion and he knows that that’s not going to be an easy task, that he has got to put in the work in the offseason.”

Dieter agreed that he went from minimal offseason work between his freshman and sophomore seasons to making a conscious effort to be more active ahead of his junior year in order to take his exploits on the mat to the next level.

His first experience at the state tournament, he said, showed him what it’s going to take to make a harder push for the top of the state tournament podium.

Sherando's Timmy Dieter tries to unwrap the legs of Liberty's Aiden Lemus during a quad match Tuesday night at Handley High School. Dieter won the match with a pin. Rich Cooley/Daily

“Just increasing attacks on my feet and keeping up the pressure on him and not necessarily backing up or, say, letting him attack me,” Dieter, who placed fourth in last year’s state tournament in Salem, said when asked what, specifically, he learned about competing for a state title. “I’ve been trying to be more offensive.”

At the midway point of the high school season, Dieter is seeing the results. He’s 31-4 with 19 pins heading into the Freedom Duals and is the team’s leader in both categories.

He’s already claimed individual titles at the 10-team Cavalier Classic at W.T. Woodson on Dec. 16 and at the 12-team Willie Walters/Jaye Copp Tournament at James Wood on Dec. 22. Dieter also was named Sherando’s Most Outstanding Wrestler after going 5-0 at the Warriors’ own Andrew Kenney Memorial Tournament on Dec. 8.

Two of Dieter’s four losses this season have come to James W. Robinson High’s Nik Gerard, last year’s Group 5A state runner-up at 120 pounds.

“He has definitely elevated his standing as far as one of the top wrestlers in the state,” Martin said of Dieter.

Sherando's Timmy Dieter walks off the mat after pinning Liberty's Aiden Lemus Tuesday night at Handley High School. Rich Cooley/Daily

The Sherando junior also has tried to take his leadership role to new heights.

Martin said he told Dieter before the start of the season that he wanted Dieter to become the type of leader that former standout John Borst was for the Warriors during his senior season last winter. Though Martin said Dieter still has a “ways to go” in order to reach that level, the junior has certainly accepted more responsibility among his teammates.

“I’ve been definitely trying to step up this year and help the kids that haven’t really had that experience of going to regions or states and just help them get there come postseason,” Dieter said.

Borst, a three-time state champ and 2016 Beast of the East title winner who is now at Virginia Tech, served a similar mentor role for Dieter over the previous two seasons. Martin likened Borst’s relationship with Dieter to that of a big brother, which included some tough love that Martin said softened quite a bit when Borst became a more effective leader for the Warriors last winter.

“He showed me a lot of stuff to do, like what to do in certain situations that I hadn’t really seen before and stuff like that,” Dieter, who competed with Borst at the prestigious Beast of the East tournament in December 2016, said of his former teammate.

“Seeing him go D1, that really motivated me because I wanna get to that level, too, and I realized that that’s attainable from Sherando.”

Dieter likely won’t catch Borst, the school’s all-time career wins and career pins leader, in the record book, but he’s on pace to finish his own Sherando career as one of the Warriors’ most successful grapplers.

He enters Saturday tied for 14th on the school’s all-time list with 122 career wins, and his 73 career pins rank ninth. Dieter – who went 42-16 as a freshman and 52-11 as a sophomore – still has a year and a half to build on those marks, though he said he doesn’t pay much attention to record chasing.

“I’m just trying to compete to the best of my ability,” he said. “I just wanna wrestle the toughest competition and hopefully win.”

If Dieter has his way, he’ll be doing so all the way through the 132-pound bracket at the Class 4 state tournament at Churchland High School in Portsmouth on Feb. 16 and 17.

“Hopefully in the state finals and winning,” Dieter replied when asked where he hopes to be at season’s end.

“Just push myself every day in practice and just get a little bit better every day until then.”