Wayne High School wrestler Dalyn Hart pins adversity en route to success

Dalyn Hart, left, prepares to engage with teammate Nay Naing during wrestling practice Wednesday at Wayne High School. (Photo by Reggie Hayes of news-sentinel.com)
Dalyn Hart poses after his sectional championship last weekend. (Photo via Twitter)

Dalyn Hart regularly gets up at 3 a.m. in order to go lift weights with his friend Lukas Fender. This is either dedication or obsession. It’s probably both.

Hart, a senior at Wayne High School, took a page out of football coach Derrick Moore’s book, the one that pushes chasing that unattainable “110 percent” effort, and he’s applying it to everything.

Hart can’t change the past, but he can shape the future, and he sees no reason to downshift.

“I was a huge knucklehead when I was first in high school,” Hart said. “I was into having fun and living the young life instead of thinking about things that were going to help me down the line. By my junior year, I really straightened up.”

Hart’s biggest change was adding a dual focus to his prep career. He began treating academics with the same all-out approach he took with sports. He played football, picked up wrestling as a sophomore and competed in track and field. Success came in all areas. Success related to work.

Hart is 17-0 in the 220-pound division and heading into the IHSAA wrestling regional Saturday at Carroll.

“His personal drive is probably the main force behind where he is now,” Wayne wrestling coach Lucas Fisher said. “He’s very goal-oriented. When he gets something on his mind, that’s the way it’s going to be.”

Hart has overcome obstacles along the way. Due to some family circumstances, he and younger brother Dayton Bennett have lived with their aunt Susan Bennett most of their lives, although Hart remains in regular contact with his mother Tomeka Bennett and father Marvin Bennett. Hart was also very close to his grandmother, Beverly Dennis, who passed away last summer.

Life, in other words, hasn’t always been easy. But Hart combines determination with Christian faith to help him push through obstacles.

His drive makes him one of the most difficult wrestlers to deal with, because of his strength, speed and the fact he doesn’t buckle under pressure.

“My whole life, there’s never been a moment where I haven’t had to fight through adversity and something tough,” Hart said. “I’m a strong believer in God and where there’s a will, there’s a way. My motto has always been if you can look up, you can get up. If you can’t walk, crawl. If you can’t run, walk. If God allows you to move your body, move it.”

A great example of Hart’s persistence, and ability to push through pain came when his grandmother passed away, the day before a Wayne summer football event.

Beverly Dennis was a big influence on Hart. He regularly uses the hashtag #ripgranny on his Twitter posts.

“The thing I loved about my grandmother is she never told me anything wrong,” Hart said. “She always kept it real with me. There’s not a lot of people who will tell you what’s real, whether you like it or not.”

Moore remembers Hart going about his business, not letting on the emotions inside of him from the loss of his grandmother. “The first I knew about it was when he said he wanted to do his best for his grandmother,” Moore said.

As Wayne headed into the football season, Hart emerged as one of the key players, on and off the field.

“He was a great leader for us,” Moore said. “He played hurt, he played through pain. He’s a three-sport athlete. If he’s not (Wayne’s) athlete of the year, I don’t know what we’re doing. A good kid.”

Moore points to Hart’s growth in the classroom, where he has slowly built up his grade point average. He will likely have to take a junior college route, but he still intends to play college football.

“I would like to say I’m an intelligent kid, but I’m not a straight A-plus Harvard student,” Hart said. “I know that. I have to outwork that Harvard student, whatever it takes to go harder than him or her.”

Hart’s wrestling goals are high, with a trip to state, and a win, in his sights. Football remains his No. 1 sport, but he attacks each season with the same drive. He fought through some injury issues this season after winning a regional title at 195 pounds last season.

Hart recently pinned an opponent in six seconds, which is fairly unbelievable.

“I don’t think I actually grasped what I did at the moment,” Hart said. “It took a while for me to register that I pinned this person in six seconds. I knew I still had work to do. Who’s next?”

Hart emphasizes his appreciation for those who have helped him along the way, from his family to his coaches at Wayne, including head assistant wrestling coach Dave Flesch and former Wayne wrestling coach David Mullinax.

“I’m thankful for every opportunity I’ve gotten, and whoever helped me to get there,” he said. “I’m thankful for my football coaches and wrestling coaches, the people at New Tech and I want to thank God. Without him, I’m nothing.”

Hart tries to carry his discipline on the mat and in the weight room over into his everyday life. He’s in bed by 10 p.m., when possible, aiming for five hours sleep. The 3 a.m. alarm to get back to work is on its way.