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Wrestling: Mead's Berg is the Times-Call wrestler of the year

Mar. 27—Mead's Dalton Berg, the school's three-sport star, had won the Class 4A 175-pound wrestling title as a junior — but, as he can attest, absolutely nothing seemed to be going his way in his repeat quest.

"Just another chip on my shoulder," the senior, named the Longmont Times-Call wrestler of the year after winning at 190 pounds in February, said on Monday. "And it was just another one of the things that made it sweeter when I won it."

Berg's quest to a second straight gold locked him in as CHSAA's 4A wrestler of the year, too. He'd been impressive, returning from knee surgery to win a bracket he wasn't favored in. (According to On The Mat, the state association's preferred rankings, he was projected to finish third in a 190-pound field that featured two other defending champs).

If you ask him, though, he would have understood if either of his new 'wrestler of the year' awards went to one of his four teammates, who also won their 4A bracket. Fellow senior and 2023 Times-Call wrestler of the year, Jake Glade, repeated as well, winning at 150s. Nationally-touted teammates Leister Bowling IV (175s) and Otto Black (138s) dominated their weight divisions all year long, and Grant Gordon surprised in the heavyweights, to win their first.

All of them arrived at Ball Arena confident, leading the Mavericks to the first team title won by a St. Vrain Valley School program.

"Iron sharpens iron," Berg said, looking back on the team's daily practices.

Nearly every day throughout the winter, Berg said he prepared by competing against his other standout teammates. He tussled and learned from the team's other state champs, as well as William Eilers, who ended up finishing second at 4A 215s.

"Not bragging or anything like that, but you look at the guys he had to practice with every day," his coach, Ty Tatham said, "and that is definitely going to put him in the right position."

As the season progressed, Berg's results reflected a wrestler getting stronger. Growing was his trust in himself — and mainly, his newly-repaired right knee, which had the meniscus taken out after the fall soccer season.

He looked at his best in the final days of the winter season, beating defending 165s and 190s champs to wrap up gold.

He edged Windsor's Evan Perez in the semifinals, saying it was sweeter after Perez poked fun at his team's "horns up" celebration with a "horns down" hand sign in an early-December dual. Then in the finals, he won by a 4-0 decision over Roosevelt's Bronco Hartson, the quarterback and all-around star athlete for the Roughriders who Berg said beat him for much of his wrestling career, including twice in the months earlier.

"Being ranked under those guys, it was one of those things I had to work through, and it brought out the best in me," Berg said. "Anybody can go win an easy bracket, but you got to show who you truly are if you want to win a hard bracket like that. I think that just brought out another level in me."

Before his farewell to high school wrestling, Berg had five goals and five assists during the fall soccer season while playing on a knee he said he hurt over the summer.

Today, he is finishing out his high school career as an outfielder in baseball. He said he hopes to play baseball in college.

"Dalton is just a competitor. He plays three sports and does really well in all of them," Tatham said. "He just competes and he's never out of it, with not only his drive, but athletic ability."