By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.– Wrestling is life. Life is wrestling.
It teaches you more than that two-point takedown or turning a pin. It teaches you the off-the-mat life lessons of not giving up.
For Dallas’ Cael Morrison, wrestling has meant so much to him entering his Senior year with the Dragons Wrestling team just from the life lessons it has taught him.
“It just teaches so many life lessons. Like I can think of so many times I wanted to give up when getting some weight off but I just kept going,” said Dallas’ Cael Morrison. “So now I see myself doing things like that in life just not in wrestling. So I believe that never giving up the mindset you learn from wrestling is the biggest thing that means the most to me.
“I mean resilience is another big thing like wrestling you’re going to get beat up pretty bad so you have to have that mindset to bounce back when you’re hurt or just tired.”
Morrison’s drive and grind had led him to the State Bracket each of his three years in High School. Placing in three separate weight classes had led Morrison to two fourth-place finishes his freshman and sophomore year at 106 pounds and 113 respectively. Dallas as a team won the 5A State Title in 2018 and finished third in 2019.
Morrison made the jump to 132 as a Junior, similar finish. Placing at State at fifth-place with his Dragons team placed eighth in 5A as a squad. The community breathes breath into not just into the sails of the wrestling team, but through each of their sports teams on the campus.
And it’s something that motivates their athletes, Morrison included as he reminisces on the past experiences at Dallas.
“Dallas has always been behind not only the wrestling team but all the teams at the school,” Morrison said, who’s also on the Dragons Football team. “The community has always supported us and as a team and a school we appreciate them so much. I remember growing up and going to wrestling duals and just the atmosphere was incredible so being able to experience that now and for the past three years I’ve been extremely thankful. Dallas is definitely something else.”
Morrison has taken the road less traveled since his Junior season of wrestling wrapped up. Taking the opportunity to travel out of State due to the restrictions of wrestling in Oregon to get some reps in on the inch of padding he calls home.
It comes with its pros and cons, but with his aspirations of going beyond Prep wrestling, the traveling does give Morrison a taste of what is to come.
“This is something that has it’s pros and cons. Yeah, traveling has a big toll on you because of the long car or plane rides but it’s huge for college, I think,” Morrison starts. “Colleges are going to these tournaments because they’re really the only one going on right now.
“So, I think it’s helping me out a lot with the college part of things as well as myself. I get to wrestle tough guys because everyone from the country is at these tournaments because they are the only ones available.”
The competition has been one of the things that Morrison has pointed out that has been different than in years past. One tournament he went to in Idaho, Morrison pointed towards 126 kids in the one bracket he was in alone.
The golden benefit was that he got nine matches in during the six-hour sessions as he ended up placing eighth in the tournament. For Morrison, going to these tournaments, he’s picking between 132-, and 138-pound brackets. All dependent on how he’s feeling entering the tournament.
“For me, deciding the weight I want to go pretty much depends on what I am that week before the tournament. A lot of it is how I feel about going down to that weight. I feel like I don’t need to cut weight to compete at these big tournaments but, some of them you just want that advantage,” Morrison said.
Morrison the Traveler made two stops in Utah for tournaments and another in Florida to with his Top 8 finish in Idaho. Collecting another Top 8 finish in Florida and two Top 6 finishes in Utah as he returns to his mat at home where he would beat up his sparring partner in his dad in preparation for his Senior year.
He knows too how bittersweet this year has been for the Seniors before him and himself with the uncertainty surrounding them. That his last opportunity to perform under the home light one last time may never come as so many others last. Morrison wrote something about it on his Instagram account about it back in November.
But he’s staying positive about it. Trying to get better each and everyday in the sport he loves. To Morrison, Wrestling is Life and Life is Wrestling.
“I’m getting better every day. Like I believe today I’m better than I was yesterday so I’ve just been focusing on getting better one day at a time! Then when the season comes, I’ll be ready to go,” said Morrison.