SPRING HILL — Ever since he was a freshman at Citrus, people have been telling John Dreggors he would be a state champion.
He transferred to Springstead the following season and continued his ascension. The heavyweight phenom has four national championships, been named to six All-America lists and has a school record for pins in a season (39).
Through all of this success, one thing has evaded his grasp: a gold medal at the state championships.
“It’s not just something I want to do, it’s something I have to do,” he said. “I’ve been watching that tournament since I was in middle school, and I knew that I was going to win it one day.”
Last season was more dominant and more disappointing than any to date for Dreggors. Going into the campaign, he knew his top competition for the crown would be Edgewater heavyweight Kaleb Johnson. His agility and hands made him a top-tier football recruit, and he is now an offensive lineman with Rutgers.
When the Springstead standout defeated his rival in state quarterfinals, the championship seemed all but his. His finals opponent was North Marion’s Matt Pringle, a competitor Dreggors had beaten many times. Whether it was the pressure or he just took his eye off the ball, Pringle pinned him in one minute, 23 seconds.
Emotion poured out of the junior. While his team celebrated the first state title in school history, Dreggors couldn’t be consoled.
“It’s an image I haven’t forgotten,” he said. “It sticks out in my mind to this day. It motivates me to go back there. I wish I was there right now.”
He knows this is his final chance to change that memory. If he wants to be remembered for what he is — one of the most dominant wrestlers in Springstead history — he needs to join the 14 wrestlers who have gone on to 22 combined individual state titles.
“He has to win a state title, and he knows that,” coach Eric Swensen said. “He’s still a kid, and it’s a little nerve-racking for him to be going through this.”