For 14-year-old eighth-grader Dylan Meeks of Central Florida Christian, competing in this week's FHSAA state wrestling tournament for the first time should be an intimidating challenge.
Except he'll probably laugh when he reads that line.
Dylan is 6 feet 1, 195 pounds. He is 37-0 this season. He has won multiple national age-group championships.
- E-mail | Recent columns
- Pictures: 2013 High School State Wrestling Finals
- Pictures: 2012-2013 High school wrestling media day
- Talk about it on our new wrestling message boards
- High school wrestling photos
- High School Sports
- Winter Park
See more topics »
6500 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
And those aren't his most favorable credentials.
The best thing Dylan has going for him are two big brothers who have been trying to pin him to the wrestling mat at home all his life.
If the oldest of the clan, Alton, had not graduated early from Dr. Phillips to enroll at Iowa State as a football signee in January, the Meekses likely would have had three boys heading to Lakeland for state. Alton was a sophomore state champion for Boone. A football injury derailed his junior wrestling season at Boone before he moved to DP as a senior.
Colby, a 6-3, 260-pound sophomore starting center for DP football, showed how tough he is when he battled back from sickness and a default loss in round two of last week's region tournament to win four consecutive matches and join Dylan as a state qualifier. He avenged the loss with a 30-second pin in his final wrestleback bout to place third and improve to 27-5.
But the toughest Meeks of all is probably the little guy, Dylan, who looks small only when he's grappling against Colby or Alton (6-3, 240).
"He's certainly the meanest," said Sanford Meeks, the father. "That comes with the territory. Alton beat them up quite a bit until he left for school."
The boys grew up in great club wrestling rooms but also do what Colby called "extra work" nearly every day at home.
"I miss it a lot," Alton said by phone Monday. "I knew it would have been all three of us at state if I had stayed. I'm excited for Colby and Dylan."
The Meekses got hooked on wrestling in the mat-minded Midwest when their father, a director of medical physics at MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, worked at the University of Iowa cancer center. Dylan was wrestling by age 4.
He is ranked fifth in his 1A weight class behind four seniors, but turns out he's not scared at all about state.
"A lot of wrestling is just being able to take whatever my opponent can give me," Dylan said. "I've been taking it all my life. When you're the weakest, smallest and youngest in your family, it's a battle every day."
He made it sound like he's the lucky one.
Winter Park's Saturday, Feb. 23 "Parade of Champions" celebrates the grand achievement of 100 state team championships, a mark the school hit when crew and cheerleading squads captured titles last year. The Wildcats are up to 101 with last week's cheerleading crown.
The school is looking for representatives from each championship to carry the parade sign for their team during Winter Park's annual Picnic in the Park.
The legacy started with a 1939 boys swim championship. The other 100 titles have occurred since 1970 in 16 sports.
If West Orange (19-0) beats two-time reigning champion Weston Cypress Bay (19-2-4) in Saturday's 5A boys soccer state final in Melbourne, the Warriors will achieve the unprecedented. Only six Sentinel coverage-area teams have won boys winter soccer state titles, and none has been unbeaten, untied.
Bishop Moore's1979-80 3A title team was undefeated with two ties in a 25-0-2 season. Winter Park's 4A kings of 1978-79 were 29-1-1.
Bishop Moore also won titles with final records of 19-2-2 in 1978-79 and 1981-82, and with a 25-4-2 mark in 1999-2000. Daytona Beach Seabreeze was 28-5 as 3A champ in 1991-92.
A West Orange victory would keep alive a streak in which area schools have produced at least one team or individual state champ in every sport this school year.