Printed on: March 24, 2013

Heavyweight of the Year

Jesse Dewey

By Paul Lambert

Jesse Dewey

195 pounds

Teton H.S.

Jesse Dewey didn't realize it, but he's a huge Thomas Jefferson fan.

The Teton High School senior doesn't remember where he heard it exactly, but a classic Jefferson quote helped Dewey fight through a difficult season and realize a childhood dream.

"If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done." -- Thomas Jefferson

After doing more work than he had ever done, Dewey got what he never had Feb. 23 in Holt Arena -- a state wrestling championship, and the title Post Register All-Area Wrestling Heavy-weight of the Year.

Dewey entered the state tournament as the No. 1 seeded 195-pounder in the 3A field in both his junior and senior seasons.

A quarterfinal loss as a junior left Dewey with a bronze medal and deep disappointment.

Leaning on Thomas Jefferson's wisdom for inspiration, Dewey rededicated himself to claiming state gold as a senior.

"I just made up my mind I was going to come back and win," he said. "After working so hard for so long, to finally get there and win it is one of the best feelings I've ever had."

Veteran Teton wrestling coach Richard Berry saw Dewey's resolve manifest itself daily in team workouts.

Dewey made the commitment, and despite spending much of the season fighting a lingering case of the eastern Idaho coughing crud, he honored that commitment.

"Last year he came one match shy, and really should have been a champion," Berry said. "He just rededicated his whole year, and that's what's so neat about wrestling is you have a chance to reset goals."

It's a wonder Dewey can find any free time to work on his wrestling at all, considering he spends most of his "free" time working his family's 1,000-acre cattle ranch outside Victor.

Dewey and the family are responsible for the care and maintenance of some 150 mother cows, and all the rubber-boot work that goes with it.

When asked how his ranching work helped prepare him for the state wrestling mat, Dewey took an "aw shucks" approach and redirected credit instead to inspiration from his father, James, who placed at state during his high school wrestling career.

And you would be hard pressed to find a prouder father in Teton County than James Dewey.

Just as his son is a huge Thomas Jefferson fan, James Dewey is a huge Jesse Dewey fan.

"After I won state, he told me he was proud of me," Jesse said.

After a short pause, Jesse added quietly, "and that he loved me."