Athlete of the Week: Dartagnan Dwyer

(Editor’s note: Throughout the local high school sports season, Culpeper Times will again recognize an “Athlete of the Week” from one of the sports on a rotating basis. This week we feature wrestling. At the end of the year the Times will select a male and female athlete at both Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools and recognize them as “Athlete of the Year” at their respective schools.)

Dartagnan Dwyer knows what is expected of a wrestler.

The Culpeper County High School senior has three older brothers who have taken to the mats for the Blue Devils and one of those brothers – Dylan – is coach of the team this year.

Nevertheless, Dartagnan is making a name for himself. His skill and leadership makes him the Culpeper Times choice for “Athlete of the Week” in wrestling.

Dylan Dwyer is in his first year at the helm after serving the past four years as an assistant coach. He graduated in 2004 after a sterling career.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Dylan said of his new responsibilities. “I want to coach the guys the way I think they need to be coached.”

Dylan doesn’t want readers to get the idea he chose Dartagnan because they’re brothers.

“He’s the only returning captain and he has amazing dedication to the sport,” Dylan said. “He’s here every day and he gives 100 percent every day. He works hard both during the season and in the off season.”

Dartagnan said he first wrestled about 11 years ago with the Culpeper youth wrestling program then known as the Cobras. This season he will compete in the 160-pound weight class after going at 152 last year.

“I like wrestling because I can challenge myself,” he said. “The whole idea of working so hard on one thing is that there will be a reward for all the effort you put in.”

Dartagnan placed sixth in Battlefield districts last season and hopes to improve this year.

“About 10 percent of wrestling is conditioning,” he said. “The other 90 percent is mental.”

Dwyer runs cross country for the Blue Devils and goes to wrestling camps to help insure that the conditioning part of the equation is in place. He said he likes moving up to the 160-pound class this year.

“It’s more natural for me,” he said. “Previously I was working really hard to stay at 152.”

Dartagnan said government and English are his two favorite subjects in school and that he likes to read a lot.

As for college plans?

“I don’t want to stress out about that yet,” he said. “My brothers D.J. and Derek both wrestle at George Mason, so maybe …”

NOTE: Eric Brown and Eddie Jenkins share the head coaching cuties at Eastern View High School.

They nominated junior Kevin Willems, who wrestles at 132 pounds.

“Kevin is probably the hardest working athlete on the team,” said Jenkins. “He leads by example. He’ll run through a brick wall for you. Off the mat he’s a good student and comes from a good family.

“There are some tough kids in his weight class. He works hard here every day – I never have to worry about him missing a practice. He pushes the rest of the team.”

Willems has been wrestling for four years and also played football and rugby.

“I like wrestling because it’s an individual sport,” he said. “If I lose I can’t blame another person so I push myself. The hardest thing for me is to stay motivated to run and to workout on days when I’m not motivated.

“But all the guys on the team are friends. We are close knit and believe we can go far as a team this year.”

Willems said English is his favorite subject but he hasn’t decided on a college or a major.

“I might join the military after high school,” he said.