Never Quit

“Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit.”

Dayton Pitzer is a winner. Read that again, believe it, understand it. This is a guy who has won at every level he’s competed at. The number of accolades he had prior to entering college is astounding. Dayton had a record of 130-3 in high school. He had 100 falls. This is absolutely mind blowing. In arguably the best state for high school wrestling, this guy had that record. Keep in mind this young man lost a full season to injury. He was as dominant a wrestler as this state had ever seen. A three time state champion. A winner. Dayton Pitzer is so much more than that. If you know him, or even spent a few minutes talking to him, you get that.  There are few people out there who are as humble as he is. He’s that guy. He’s quick to coach young kids on technique and offer advice as well as take a picture with them. This is a guy with not only great talent but even better character. A winner, all around.

The key isn’t having the will to win, a lot of athletes have that. It’s having the will to do what it takes to prepare yourself to be the best, that’s rare. Dayton Pitzer has that. Dayton started wrestling young. Unlike most kids, he didn’t have family introduce him into the sport. He started young, in grade school. He convinced his parent to let him try the sport. The rest is history.

  He saw some early success that eventually led him to All American Wrestling Club. Coach Rob Waller, a Pennsylvania legend of the sport guided him in his early years. “I owe Coach Waller so much. He coached me. He believed in me. He taught me to be a great wrestler but a better person. He taught me to be a winner.” Every great wrestler has that type of mentor, it just so happens that Dayton’s is a living legend. The amount of State Champions, hell, even National Champions that have come through that club is astounding. When it’s all said and done, Dayton Pitzer may be one of the best.

As Dayton grew it was soon apparent that he would need different practice partners. He would need guys that could push him physically. He was  still a young man,  but needed men to work with. Enter Robbie Waller (NCAA Champion) Zach Snyder, Ty Banco (Texas A&M Football) and BJ Mikeska. Dayton credits these guys for making him into the wrestler he is today. Practice partners are often underrated. Dayton Pitzer doesn’t forget this. He knows the importance of having people around him that can push him. People that will  challenge him, make him better. These are the guys who were there when he was still growing, needing to be thrust to that next level. Let’s be very clear, baring an injury in his his sophomore year, Dayton would have been a 4 timer. He doesn’t say that, he’s far too humble. I’m saying that. He was a winner, always has been. . Now after a successful high school career, it was time. It was time to pick where he would make his mark on the NCAA, where he would undoubtedly make a name for himself in the college ranks.

Enter the University of Pittsburgh.  It had everything Dayton would need to be successful, an excellent coaching staff, great facilities, and the best part…only 40 minutes from home. It was the perfect recipe. Once Dayton got on campus he was instantly in the mix,  going with guys like Nino Bonaccorsi ( NCAA Champ) Demetrius Thomas (NCAA Qualifier) and teammate Mac Stout. He felt right at home. Head Coach Keith Gavin realizes where his campus is located. It is in the heart of the Wpial. The nations best region for high school  wrestling. Over half of the starting lineup is made up of guys from this region. The roster has tons of wrestlers from around here. “Knowing a lot of the team when I came onto campus made the transition a lot easier.” He was home. Dayton had the luxury of redshirting his freshman year. He was able to compete quite a bit and showed a ton of promise, placing at the prestigious Midlands Tournament and beating NCAA finalist Colten Shultz. It was a coming out party of sorts. Dayton Pitzer had arrived. The coaching staff  knew that Dayton was undersized for the weight. He ultimately redshirted. He may not have liked it but this allowed time for him to bulk up, gain healthy weight, get bigger.

Dayton did just that. He followed the detailed plan that Coach Keith Gavin laid out for him. He put on 20 lbs of muscle that summer. He was bigger, just as fast and ready to challenge for a National Title. This guy is a winner. He was ready to go. Pitzer had some good results during the regular season, then the unthinkable happens. Shoulder injury. How was this guy expected to compete against guys much larger than him with a shoulder injury? He took some time off, considered all of his options but ultimately knew that he was a competitor,  a winner. Dayton Pitzer wrestled at the ACC Championships. He qualified for the NCAA tournament. That’s a huge deal. So many wrestlers dream of that  moment. If you know Dayton, you know that’s not enough for him. He didn’t achieve the results he wanted. That’s ok. This is a guy who is as mentally strong as he is physically. He’s the type of leader any program wants to build around. He’ll be back. He’ll be better than ever before. It’s a safe bet that Dayton Pitzer will get that title that he’s worked so hard for. He’s a winner, he won’t quit, he’s that guy.

Dayton Pitzer is resilient. He has a discerning personality. He’s a winner at all levels. If you think this set back will keep him down. Nah! This is a minor set back for a major come back! Enjoy watching the rest of his career, I know I will.

Get To Know Dayton Better:

More Todd's Talks:

jared keslar cover photo

Todd’s Talks With Jared Keslar

“I believe success is achieved by ordinary people with extraordinary determination”.   – Zig Ziglar Jared Keslar has always been competitive. He’s determined. He knows

Read More »

Support Todd's Work

Meet Todd Wightman

Based in Western PA. Right in the heart of WPIAL country, Todd brings an insider’s view from the country’s epicenter  of wrestling. He’s excited to build on the TKDWN tradition of starting with the story first. The athletes, the coaches, their families and supporters, there is no shortage of stories to tell. And Todd will bring his unique perspective to help us continue to deliver top notch content for the world’s greatest sport!