Dan Pastorius set a goal to be rarely beat this season.
The Newark senior, however, had a challenge from the start to reach such a lofty goal. Pastorius was wrestling at 182 pounds Saturday for the first time in his career at the Mount Vernon Invitational.
“To be honest, I was a little intimidated at first,” Pastorius said. “It wasn’t until I got into it that I realized they were nothing but the same as I am. They work hard every day, and they put in the same time. It is just that 182 is heavier than what I am used to, but it paid off pretty well, I guess.”
Pastorius had three pins and a 9-0 major decision before beating Lancaster’s Shawn Norris 12-7 in the final. Pastorius took three steps up the podium after placing fourth in the annual season-opening meet in 2012.
“At the end of last year, I came to the conclusion that I was tired of being at the bottom of the podium or not on the podium at all,” Pastorius said. “Over the summer, I was working out at the (Licking County Family YMCA), doing strength training. I wanted that top spot.”
The Wildcats have five seniors, but it is clear it is Pastorius’ team. Pastorius, who finished 22-20 in 2012-13, is a Division I two-time district qualifier.
Pastorius started at 170 in 2012-13 before soon dropping to 160. He placed second in the sectional, but he was 0-2 at the district.
“He is stepping into the leadership role a lot more, and I expected him to being a senior,” coach Jose Martinez said. “He came right off the bat with three pins, a major decision and a 12-7 victory in the finals. He started off well with 5-0.”
Newark competes in the Olentangy Liberty Invitational this weekend, and it should be a good challenge for Pastorius. The meet often has multiple state-caliber wrestlers at every weight class.
With experience at 182, Pastorius now feels ready for anything. He is there to stay. He is less than 30 wins from 100 and only needs 32 this season to match his dad Tom’s season-best mark in 1979-80.
“Last year when I dropped to 160, I felt kind of weak,” Pastorius said. “Now, that I don’t have to cut any weight or anything, I have my full body weight, and the muscle I don’t lose.”