PARKERSBURG - Dylan Cottrell of Roane County has been dominant on the wrestling mat for more than a decade.
Although not a unanimous selection, Cottrell had more than enough votes to top runner-up Elijah Hull of Lewis County and Parkersburg South's David Jeffrey to be honored as the 28th recipient of the Robert Dutton Award, which is presented annually to the best wrestler in the Mountain State by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Cottrell finished his final year for the Raiders of head coach Wayne Jarvis with a 43-1 record and the Class AA/A 145-pound state mat title. Not only did Cottrell join Jeffrey and Ripley's Adam Bicak - who placed fourth in the balloting - as a four-time state champion, but the Raider also was honored with the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award for Class AA/A..
"I really wasn't thinking about it too much," Cottrell said of becoming the Dutton Award winner, which is the third time a wrestler from Spencer has won the coveted accolade. "I wasn't concerning myself with it because there's nothing you can do to persuade anyone. All of us wrestle and did what we had to do and it's in someone else's hands.
"There was no need to worry about it. I was just excited to get the news and I'm in great company with the other wrestlers who were finalists. I don't think for any of us to win it there would be any hard feelings that it would affect any of us. It's a big bonus and I'm excited and happy about it."
Cottrell, a four-time All-American, not only finished with a career record of 182-4, but he also never allowed an opponent to score on him in 16 career state tournament matches in Huntington. The 182 mat victories are a school record.
"Dylan, to be honest with you, he never did tell me that winning the Dutton Award was one of his goals," said coach Jarvis, who noted Cottrell had won eight consecutive West Virginia youth state titles before moving up to high school and winning as a senior, junior (47-1 at 135), sophomore (43-1 at 119) and freshman (48-1 at 103).
"We saw Dylan develop from the time he was just a little guy in our youth program and his parents were taking him all over the country to wrestle."
Although currently undecided where he will attend college, Cottrell has made an official visit to Appalachian State and plans on taking two of his final four trips to Edinboro and the University of Maryland.
Since winning his fourth crown, Cottrell has taken little time off and said he's been training pretty much seven days a week as he prepares for the senior nationals at the end of this month in Virginia Beach.
"The last two times I've went down there I've placed third and last year I should not have placed third," Cottrell said. "I should have been in the national finals, but I lost my semifinal match and I shouldn't have.
"I have had a little bit of a problem in the semifinals losing that twice, but I've been training hard and I want to be a national champion. I'm excited for it."
Also getting consideration for the Robert Dutton Award were Parkersburg's Jared Haught, the only underclassman to receive votes, as well as Tory Bennett of Berkeley Springs and Oak Glen's Zach Brown.
With Cottrell's selection this year and former teammate Josh Fisher winning it a year ago, Roane County now joins Parkersburg as the only back-to-back victors of the Dutton Award. Former Big Reds Lou Thomas and Brandon Rader pulled off the feat in 2004 and 2005.
The award is named in honor of legendary Parkersburg High School wrestling coach Robert Dutton. Dutton coached the Big Reds from 1957 to 1976.
Sponsored by The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, the award is voted upon by a statewide panel.
Cottrell, who was the offensive captain of the Class AA all-state football team, will receive his honor at the Victory Awards Dinner in Parkersburg on Sunday, April 29.