Athlete Spotlight: Taconic's Dylan Burke
After becoming the first Berkshire County wrestler since 2012 to take home a Division III state title, Taconic sophomore Dylan Burke dropped by the Eagle offices after an MIAA breakfast ahead of the 170-pound champ's trip to the All-State tournament at St. John's Prep in Danvers. Burke helped the Braves claim a Western Massachusetts championship, but was runner-up to county rival John Field individually. However, the up-and-comer kept his head a week later in Wakefield and had a monster weekend to claim a state crown. We chatted with Burke about how he got into wrestling, what has gotten him to this level and what it's like to get in the circle with some of the strongest and toughest student-athletes in the state.
Berkshire Eagle: When did you start wrestling?
Dylan Burke: I started with Badger Wrestling when I was seven years old in Pittsfield with coach Dave Jones. I don't really remember why exactly I started, but I started getting good at it, so I stuck with it.
BE: When you first started what were you wrestling at?
DB: I think I was 70 pounds. Last year, as a freshman, I wrestled at 160. I hit 170 this year. I felt a lot stronger and more confident this year. I felt like guys weren't that much bigger than me. In seventh grade I wrestled for Mount Greylock with coach Ray Miro. I wrestled a few varsity matches and just got killed. I wasn't built like most of the older kids, but then I hit high school a lot more mature than some other kids.
BE: At Western Massachusetts you lost in the title match to Monument Mountain's John Field, how long did that one sit with you?
DB: John and I have wrestled twice now and we're 1-1. I was thinking about that one for a few days. But then I was talking to my coaches and they said just worry about going to states and winning at states.
BE: So, did you believe you had a chance to win states?
DB: Yeah, I honestly did. I knew the only way I would face John would be in the consolation finals or finals. Was hoping to see him there, but we didn't wind up facing each other. John and Dylan O'Brien of Framingham are the toughest guys I've faced this year.
BE: You're a Division III state champion. What's changed for you this week?
DB: Nothing really. Just want to go into the next tournament [All-States] with the same head as I did going into the state tournament. Just want to go in with a clear mind like last week and win.
BE: How would you describe your style as a wrestler?
DB: I'm strongest on my feet. That's where I'm at my best. Usually, riding I just let them up because I'm more comfortable on my feet as opposed to on the ground. It's just a lot of working out. Football season helped, playing football and working out.
BE: What makes your teammates so strong and allowed Taconic to win a Western Mass. team championship?
DB: We all wrestle each other every practice, and that makes us stronger. We work really close as a team. The toughest guy I face is probably Zabion Powell. He's just so fast and smart, so it helps me with cardio a lot.
BE: What's your go-to move to finish a guy off?
DB: Single leg shot. It's a low outside single that I usually look for. You push and pull them, or just shoot low at that leading leg.
BE: What has been your experience with coach Jeremy Tetreault?
DB: Back in like third and fourth grade I used to go and watch the tournaments at Taconic. He and coach Miller just work with us a lot and they've been doing it so long, they just know how to build champions.
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