Through a tragedy, Jaykup Durlin has triumphed.
Whatever happens this wrestling postseason, the Youngsville High School senior has shown tremendous character, continuing to wrestle while dealing with the loss of his father last month when their house caught fire.
Just two days after his father's death, Durlin decided to wrestle in a match against Iroquois at Youngsville High School.
Photo by Carl Leichtenberger
Because, he said, that's what his father would have wanted him to do.
Not because he earned a first-period pin, but because he made his coaches, teammates and the entire community proud.
He's convinced his father would be proud as well.
"My biggest motivation now that my dad is gone is making him proud," Jaykup said of his father, Darwin Durlin.
He has an entire community behind him heading into Friday's and Saturday's District 10 Section 1-AA Tournament at Union City High School.
"It's a great feeling that everybody looks up to me," said Durlin. "There's a lot of kids on the team that should be going a lot further than what we had last year. It should be pretty cool to see how many are determined to go to states this year."
Durlin wants to return to states; he was the lone Youngsville Eagle to qualify last season.
"I want to go and get the gold... you have to have that mindset," said Durlin.
First and foremost, he shared a goal with his father to get 100 career wins at Youngsville, and he's currently at 96. Three wins would get him a Section 1-AA title and a trip to the District 10 Class AA Championships next weekend at Sharon High School.
Durlin (15-2 at 220 pounds), along with senior teammate Jeremy Lyon (24-4 at 170), are top seeds this weekend. The top four placewinners advance to districts.
"We look pretty good this year," said Youngsville coach Scott Ishman. "We had one of our best seasons in a long time. Most of our kids are seeded third or (better). Honestly, you want to get everyone out (and advancing to districts)."
Competing for Youngsville will be Nathan Lehman (19-9, 106 pounds second seed), Jimmy Phelps (3-5, 113), Chandler Flinn (16-13, 120), Chester Ciukaj (17-12, 126), Tanner Burns (13-16, 132), Aaron Hoover (15-16, 145), Kris Wilcox (5-21, 152), Zach Ishman (18-10, 160 third seed), Lyon (24-4, 170), Stone Sivak (12-7, 182 third seed), Austin Spear (18-9, 195 third seed), Durlin (15-2, 220), and Austin Slocum (11-8), heavyweight second seed).
Eisenhower also has a top seed in sophomore Louie Head, who is 21-3 overall this season at 152 pounds.
Others competing for Ike include: Julian Colwell (0-15, 120), Steven Haner (20-11, 126 third seed), Nicholas Gourley (0-10, 132), Tyler Gourley (17-8, 138), Grant Gates (1-5, 145), Levi Stanko (12-9, 160 fourth seed), John Hummel (5-14, 170), Alex LaBarr (2-15, 182), Seth Brendlinger (7-11, 195), and Hunter McNutt (1-14, 220).
I am "really excited about this weekend," said Eisenhower coach Greg Gourley, who has just two seniors competing. "Hoping to get at least four through, but we have ability to get seven through if guys step up. A lot of my young guys are showing a lot of improvement late in the year. I told them everyone is 0-0 right now; told them a true champion doesn't say 'why me,' a true champion steps up and says, 'try me.' That is what postseason is all about, finding out who wants it the most."
Complete brackets are available at www.timesobserver.com.