NEWBURYPORT — At the conclusion of every match or tournament, Georgetown/Ipswich wrestling head coach Ryan Archambault sends an email with the meet results and a few comments on his team’s performance.
While this is a normal practice for high school coaches, Archambault’s quote after his team went 1-2 at the Winchester Quad Meet was far from typical.
“I talk a lot with the kids about their effort levels,” wrote Archambault. “A kid that doesn’t get much attention is senior Mason Dalley. Mason went 0-3 today. Many will look at that stat as just a kid losing three times, but let me tell you this: I’d take 14 Mason Dalleys over a gym full of superstars that this sport may have come easily to. This kid just amazes me every time he steps on the mat and pours it all out.”
What impressed Archambault so much about an 0-3 performance may be difficult for those unfamiliar with wrestling to comprehend.
“A pin is automatically six points for a team,” Archambault said. “In our meet against Quabbin, Mason lost 5-2 – a three point decision. So, Quabbin earned three points instead of six. So, by not getting pinned you could save your team 6,9, 12 points. We call it saving team points.”
What makes his ability to compete without getting pinned all the more special is his weight inequality to his opponent. This season, Dalley has been consistently relied upon to compete at the 220-pound weight class, though belonging in the 195-pound weight class.
“I go out to win,” Dalley said. “It’s tougher wrestling up 25 pounds but I am looking to, and trying to win. He always looks for me to win but if the guy is really tough, he says make sure you don’t get pinned because we need the points.”
It’s not only a role that Dalley accepts, but one that he embraces.
“Seeing him walk out there and seeing the size difference, I sometimes say ‘I hope this kid doesn’t get killed,’” Archambault said. “The size of his heart is massive. He has never once said he wasn’t going on at 220, and he has never questioned it; he goes out there without question. It takes tremendous heart to do that.”
It’s also a role he has had success in – winning a match against his much larger opponent in the Wakefield Tournament.
“I was going into my second match and we weren’t doing well as a team,” Dalley said. “I pinned my guy and I felt really in control and was doing well in the match. I was able to pin him and I was very excited that I was able to do so well at a tournament that I haven’t done well in the past. It really boosts the team up.”
While Dalley’s selflessness has helped his young team grow to a 10-7-1 record, it has also provided a strong example for his younger brothers. Sophomore Jake Dalley and eighth grader Cam Dalley are both on the team and practice alongside Mason.
“He’s the power of example for his two younger brothers,” Archambault said. “They’re very amusing in practice together. They all have different personalities and a great sense of humor, so some days the three of them are a three-ring circus. It’s a boost for the team because they’re all pretty funny.”
Along with improving as a wrestler, Dalley has improved his personal health. At one time weighing 240 pounds, Dalley has dropped 50 pounds in the past two years.
“I did a self-imposed diet and workout regimen starting in the summer two years ago,” Dalley said. “I also played football and I’d run almost everyday and do different types of workouts. I didn’t necessarily change my diet all that much but I cut back on what I was eating and didn’t eat as much sweets or drink as much soda.”
It’s the dedication to self, team and family that sets Dalley apart from the rest.
Oh – and he’s a standout student as well. His perennial spot on the honor roll has led to his acceptance to Auburn University.
“Being accepted into Auburn means the world to me,” Dalley said. “I’ve wanted to go there for a very long time and I was just ecstatic. I can’t wait. My parents don’t want me to go that far away, but I’ll check it out and probably be there this fall.”