Many wrestlers get their start in high school competition while in junior high. Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley senior John Weeding didn't have the same luxury, but he's made the most of his four years in wrestling.
Weeding is currently ranked second in Class AA at 126 pounds and is on a double-digit win streak, putting him at 25-2 so far his senior season.
"It's going to be my last year, so I have to put it all out there and hope for the best," Weeding said.
Weeding, who has taken first in the three tournaments the United have entered, has pleased his coach this season.
"He's a hard-nosed kid. He practices extremely hard and it shows upstairs," said DB/LPQV head coach Ross Jurgenson. "He's a great kid to have in the room as a leader, too. Every year he seems to get a little better.
"I know he's set his goals quite high and I think they are very attainable," Jurgenson added. "The way he works, the sky is the limit for him. He's a treat to have on the team and in the room."
Coming into the season, Weeding was sitting at 111 career wins. With 25 wins so far this season, the 150-win mark is in sight.
"I'm hoping to get it this year," Weeding said. "It would feel pretty good, be a good accomplishment to get that many in just four years of wrestling."
Weeding's last lost, and one of only two this season, came at the hands of the second-ranked wrestler at 126 pounds in Class AAA, Sam Brancale of Eden Prairie. But that loss hasn't slowed down the two-time state placer.
"I've seen a couple tough kids," Weeding said. "I had a tough one right away (against Brancale)."
For Weeding, building on the experiences of each year has been a plus. It has allowed him to wrestle the match the way he wants.
"I try to get more aggressive every year and not be so defensive any more," Weeding said. "I just go out and try to dominate right away. Don't sit back."
But at the same time, he is not afraid to share the knowledge he's gained during his career.
"He's a great leader. Great all-around captain," Jurgenson said. "He's real quick to show kids extra. If they have any questions he answers them.
"He's got a kid right below him, TJ Fulton. I know TJ would say in a heartbeat that Johnny has helped him a lot through his career."
But outside of the levels he's reached and the help he's given, there's one more goal on his list: a state championship.
At state, Weeding placed third as a sophomore and fifth as a junior, and looks to improve on both this year and win it all.
"That's my hope," Jurgenson said. "That's what any coach would want with a kid of his caliber."
Weeding knows that being the best isn't going to come easy.
"(I have to) just keep working harder and pushing myself to get to the top," Weeding said.