Best intention
By Bob Buttitta,
April 13, 2006

On paper it would appear that Royal High wrestler Kevin Dunn met all of his goals for the 2005-2006 season.

The talented junior started the season with two main goals — to help his team defend its CIF-Southern Section Division V dual team title and to reach the state tournament as an individual.

Dunn and Royal teammates were successful in defending the team title, beating Antelope Valley, 44-21, in the final to become the first Ventura County team to win back-to-back dual-meet championships.

Dunn did his part, winning all four of his matches.

After completing his team quest, Dunn experienced some individual glory, winning the Marmonte League and CIF-SS titles in the 119-pound division. He followed with a strong showing at the Masters meet, earning Dunn a trip to the state tournament.

Last season, Dunn was injured at the Masters meet, preventing him from reaching the state tournament. Making it this season helped Dunn get that monkey off his back.

Thanks to being a double CIF champion and being one of only three local wrestlers to reach the state tournament, Dunn has been selected as The Star's Wrestler of the Year.

The junior is proud of what he was able to accomplish this season, but being the ultimate competitor, Dunn believes the his junior season could have actually been better.

"The season was all right," Dunn said. "... I had some injuries at the end of year. I tore ligaments in my shoulders in December, which held me back a little.

"It's disappointing because the last two years I didn't get to see how I could do (at the end of the year) when I am not hurt. For my final season, the goal is to win the state."

How does Dunn plan to accomplish that lofty goal?

It starts with an ambitious offseason program that will include weight training and participating in freestyle wrestling tournaments.

After such a long and challenging season, Dunn took a few weeks off, but he's now back working out.

He's lifting weights about three times a week, rehabbing the shoulder and trying to get stronger, both in the his upper and lower body.

"I am eating and getting bigger," Dunn said. "I will probably wrestle at 130 or 135 next year (up from 119 this season). It will be nice not having to lose weight.

"I have gone up (in weight class) every year and every year I have gotten better. I think the lighter weights are actually tougher than the upper weights."

Dunn is already used to testing his skills against bigger opponents.

All of last season Dunn worked out in practice against his teammates who wrestle in the 135-, 140- and 145-pound divisions.

"They are good wrestlers," Dunn said of his teammates. "Wrestling guys who are heavier really helps with my conditioning."

Royal coach Richard Carrillo said Dunn was a big reason for the team's success this season.

Being on back-to-back CIF team championship teams is a thrill for Dunn. He enjoyed both championships even though the circumstances for each were different.

"Last year we were the top team, and this year not a lot of people expected a lot of us, but we came out and dominated," Dunn said.

"Both years were great; last year because it was our first title and this one because no one expected us to win."

Dunn was recently selected to be part of the the Junior National Dual Team. He and other wrestlers from around California will compete against a team from Oklahoma at the end of June.

When he returns, he will start focusing on his senior season.

"I'm the only returning captain, so I will try to be more of a leader and hopefully our team can win again," Dunn said.

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