THE GRIND: Dylan Fairchild, West Forsyth Wrestling
Wrestling was almost always a part of Dylan Fairchild’s life, though not in the way it is now.
Some of his fondest childhood memories were spent in front of a television with his dad, watching the over-the-top spectacle of professional wrestling. His favorite wrestler was The Undertaker, the owner of a Wrestlemania win streak that spanned decades. It wasn’t long before Fairchild wanted to try the sport out for himself.
His dad obliged and signed him up for a wrestling group. When he walked in for the first time, he was taken aback — there was no ring and no chokeslams.
“I was surprised,” Fairchild said. “I was like, ‘This is completely different from what I see on TV.’ I wasn't disappointed, but I was like, ‘This is different.’ I just started liking it more and more and never stopped.”
Fairchild, now a sophomore at West Forsyth, has embraced the more traditional version of the sport and is now a key part of the Wolverines’ starting lineup as their heavyweight. After being West’s only state placer last year, he’ll be looking to help West to a strong finish at the state duals meet in Macon this weekend.
Fairchild spent much of his middle school career relying mostly on his strength. He wrestled at 200 pounds in eighth grade to great success, but when he reached his freshman year, a lot of his old moves that relied on overpowering his opponents didn’t work anymore. He had to know what do in certain situations against bigger, older, more experienced opponents. His 37-15 record during his freshman year showed promise, but he still had much to improve on going into his sophomore season.
“Quite honestly, his technique wasn't very good,” West wrestling coach Evan Goff said. “He used to get high on top a lot. He would try to cradle, but he wasn't patient. He would rush the pin and sometimes the guy would roll through and pin him.”
Those mistakes were frustrating in the moments they happened, but every time they did, Fairchild only grew in his craft. Originally, Goff would wrestle with Fairchild in practice, but it became apparent that he and the other wrestlers just weren’t ideal practice partners. The Wolverines bringing in coach Kurt Rosenberger, a former Clemson male athlete of the year, helped in that regard.
“He makes it completely different from wrestling in high school,” Fairchild said. “He makes me perfect. He makes everything perfect. When we're going live, he'll point out any little minor mistake that I've made.”
Although Fairchild wrestles at 285 pounds, his build is not like most heavyweights. He was honorable mention All-Region football as a defensive tackle, and he looks to use the same length and quickness that helps him on the gridiron.
“I like to do lightweight moves, because they're not used to that,” he said. “That's what's really helped me a lot this year: doing a lot more 195-pound moves, not 285. That's what's really set me apart from a normal heavyweight.”
Before matches, Fairchild has a habit of pacing around, getting into his zone. He may not have a streak to defend like The Undertaker did, but he does what he can to share his mindset.
“At the end of the day, it's just you and him,” he said. “There’s nobody else out there. Whatever you put in is what you're going to get out of it. If you mentally prepare yourself for the hardest match of your life every single time, you're probably going to wrestle hard every single time.”