Lansing alum Scanlon becomes better man on the mat

Dillon Scanlon, class of 2011 from Lansing High School, made the most of his three years on the wrestling mat at Benedictine College in Atchison.

He recently wrapped his career winning 72 percent of his matches, going 111-43 while wrestling varsity in every dual and tournament he attended.

“I wrestled at two different weight classes,” Scanlon said. “I wrestled 149 my first season-and-a-half, slowly making my way down to 141 for the last year-and-a-half of my career. Each year came with its own special accomplishments and awards.”

In his first season at 149 pounds, Scanlon made the dean’s list while also being named to the Daktronics Academic All-American team. He followed that up with an academic and All-American repeat while also placing second at the Kansas Cup Tournament. He then graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science/Strength and Conditioning.

This past final season, wrestling at 141, he was on the dean’s list once again while working in the master's program for Business Administration. He was a Daktronics and NAIA Academic All-American and an NAIA National Qualifier.

“I knew that college sports were going to more difficult, of course anytime you move up a level in your respective sport it brings its challenges,” Scanlon said. “I am a bit of an untraditional college athlete as I took two years off after graduating high school and then got back into the game. During those two years I learned a lot about myself and about life in general. Those lessons learned helped to propel me back into competition and lift me up during times of difficulty. College sports and especially college wrestling, are much tougher as it turns into a lifestyle at this level.”

Scanlon wrestled at Benedictine having arrived at the school with no preconceived notions of what to expect.

“I didn’t necessarily come into college wrestling having a tough/easy perspective of the NAIA,” Scanlon said. “I came in thinking about my spot on the team and winning my weight class in order to be able to compete. On the mat the guy that stands in front of you could be from any school, at any level in the country. 

“You just have to go out there confident in your skill and will. Every level of wrestling is tough from kids’ club to high school, and every division of college. That is what makes this such a great sport all around.”  

Even though his collegiate eligibility has run out, Scanlon plans on keeping the sport as a massive part of his life.

“I plan on sticking with wrestling for the rest of my life,” Scanlon said. “Wrestling will always be a major part of who I am. Next year I am staying at Benedictine College to be a graduate assistant coach. I have six classes to take over the next two semesters in order to earn a master’s degree in Business Administration. At the same time, I will be coaching, recruiting, and helping push our team to the best year we have had yet. 

“The sport of wrestling has given me so much it would be impossible to quantify. To say just a few things, it has brought me closer to God and my faith, it has given me friends that will last a lifetime, and it has helped me to build my will stronger than I could ever imagine.”   

It’s been quite the journey from his days of being a Lion.

“A couple weeks ago I was the lead clinician at Lansing High School’s annual wrestling camp and had the privilege to relive some of the best moments of my career there,” Scanlon said. “Taking a look into the trophy cabinet put that feeling into my stomach that I had felt all those years ago. But the best memories come with people and relationships. Coaches Nick Flynn, Ron Averill, Brian Malm, all of those guys were there for me in my career and are there now for the young wrestlers. That is the best thing you can ask for from a sport that you love. Those people will be in my life forever, as well as the relationships formed off of the mat. 

“Many times in wrestling it is important to have a good support system. This sport brought my family together through many different instances. We are a wrestling family and always will be.”