High schools

Dustin Williams set for historic finish at Gardner Edgerton

Updated: 2014-02-14T14:08:00Z

By KATHLEEN GIER

The Kansas City Star

Whether he is battling in a meet, improving in practice or working out with friends and neighbors in his parents’ basement, Gardner Edgerton senior Dustin Williams loves to wrestle.

“Every time I step into the room, I start smiling and having a good time,” Williams said. “It’s the highlight of my day walking into wrestling practice. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed and something I’ve had success with.”

For Williams, the word “success” is almost an understatement. After finishing third at the Kansas Class 6A state championship his freshman year, Williams won two straight titles and is fighting for his third. He is now 27-0 for the season and 144-11 overall.

“(Another title) would be huge,” Williams said. “A lot more pressure comes off my back if I’m able to do that. Originally, I wanted to be a four-timer, but I guess being a three-timer is the next best thing.”

With two weeks left in his senior season, Williams has broken eight program records. He is on pace to destroy the mark for career victories by almost 20 wins. Not to mention the fact that in the fall he became the first wrestler from Gardner Edgerton to earn a Division I scholarship when he signed with Nebraska.

“Dustin is very driven and has tremendous focus,” head coach Matt Yeamans said. “He’s a student of the sport, and he’s constantly pushing himself to get better.”

Williams got his start at 5 years old, wrestling with the Gardner Kids Club. From there, he went to the East Kansas Club and started to gain momentum going into high school. While wrestling for the Trailblazers, he has earned four All-American honors along with his multiple state titles.

“There’s not really one thing that keeps you on the mat, but I’ve got so many goals and things I want to accomplish that when I accomplish them it feels really good,” Williams said. “I guess I just live for that moment of accomplishing my goals.”

When he is not focusing on his own success, he’s been passing along support to younger wrestlers. He serves as a mentor and occasional volunteer coach for the East Kansas Wrestling Club as well as other events in the community. Depending on his schedule, his mother, Lisa, said he even invites some of the kids over to the house to work out with him on his days off.

“I think it shows his determination to be a leader and the importance of being a role model and a mentor while giving back to the community and being involved,” Lisa said. “A lot of the kids look up to him, and he takes a lot of pride in making sure he does the right things on and off the mat to be a good mentor.”

Williams and the Trailblazers will compete in regionals next weekend and then head to the state meet in Park City starting Feb. 28.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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