Dee has weekend to remember at districts
Throughout his career, Anthony Dee has wrestled countless times on Saturdays.
But it's probably safe to say the Salisbury senior never had a weekend like the past one at Liberty High School.
The 126-pounder not only advanced to the Southeast Class 2A Regionals with a third-place finish at districts, but he also gained his 100th victory in the process. If that wasn't enough, Dee was also named the winner of the District 11 Officials Scholarship.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," said Dee, moments after receiving the $1000 scholarship check from official Matt Reiss. "Everything has just happened so quick for me here. It hasn't given me time to think about everything that's happened with the scholarship, the 100th win and making it to Regionals. It's just phenominal."
Dee, who entered the tournament with a 24-1 season mark and 96 career wins, was pretty phenominal in the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds of his district run, registering pins against Mahanoy Area's Zack Chiao and Pius X's Travis Haycock.
In the semifinals, however, the third-seeded Falcon dropped a narrow 4-3 decision to Andrew Sutton of Pen Argyl. While the loss eliminated a chance to wrestle for gold, it didn't dampen his spirits in the least.
"My goal was to make it to the championship round, but that goal fell short," said Dee. "As soon as that goal fell short my coach came up to me and said I should forget about that match, it's over and done with. He said all you have to focus on now is getting that 100th win.
"So from there I had to win in the semifinals of the consolations and then in the third-fourth place match. I had to re-set my goals."
Dee managed a 4-0 victory over Nick Sanders of Palisades to reach the third-place match and assure a trip to Wilson West Lawn for Regionals. It also pushed his win total to 99.
With his milestone victory in the balance, Dee fell behind by a 4-0 score before rebounding to earn an emotional 6-4 win.
"I can honestly say a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders," said Dee of earning his 100th win. "Sometimes I would have nightmares thinking that I would be that kid that got 99 wins and then lost in districts and couldn't finish it.
"I had 20-some of my schoolmates here cheering for me. They even bodypainted. It worked out because I wouldn't have had any student support down at Wilson West Lawn if I would have got my 100th win down there. It all worked out."
Another of Dee's fans expressed his feelings after putting a third-place medal around the wrestler's neck.
"Words can't really describe how proud I am of him," said head coach Eric Snyder. "He's battled through a lot over the four years. We thought it was a great semifinal match and it could have gone either way but he made one mistake. He came back, battled hard and wrestled for third. He started pretty slow in the third-place match but he came back. That's one thing about Anthony. He's never out of a match.
"This is big for him, it's big for the school and it's big for our program. It's something (100 wins) we haven't really seen a lot.... He works just as hard in the classroom as he does in the wrestling room. To also earn that scholarship award just shows that people have taken notice to all of his accomplishments."
Dee (28-2) will open the Southeast Regional tournament with an opening round matchup against Scott Cooper (30-10) of Biglerville. The top five finishers at regionals advance to states.
As for the rest of the Falcons that participated at districts, Zach Adams (106) and Nicholas Scarcia (120) both posted wins in the pigtail round. Adams also managed one win in the consolation round before being eliminated.