Grove's Dawson Tanner – Character Counts Presented by Grove Dental Associates

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By Jordan Edwards 

Dawson Tanner, senior wrestler at Grove High School, has incredible character on and off the mat. 

Wrestling has been a large piece of Tanner’s life since the eighth grade. Tanner did wrestle heavyweight, but cut back down to 220-pounds, which was extremely difficult to overcome. 

“Cutting back down to 220 after wrestling heavy weight was a bit of a wall,” Tanner said. “But coach Ward and my other teammates were there to support me through it, so it made it a ton easier.”

Grove’s wrestling coach, John Henry Ward, believes that Tanner’s attitude is the reason for his leadership and success on the mat and in the classroom.

 “Tanner leads by example and is very encouraging every day,” Ward said. “Wish every kid had his attitude.” 

Coach Ward speaks highly of Tanner but Tanner also looks up to his coach as a man and a mentor.


“He [Coach Ward] is always pushing and searching for the best in people and I just really admire the guy,” Tanner said. “He’s one of the most trustworthy and dependable people I know.”

Tanner believes that his attitude towards others has shaped him into the young man he is today. 

“I think my attitude towards adversity makes me a better athlete and person because having a good positive attitude will really set you up to be successful on and off of the mat,” Tanner said. “You can’t be selfish if you’re a team player. Be there for them and they be there for you.”

Tanner thanks his mom for pushing him to the athlete he his and his successes in his wrestling career.  “My mom has been my biggest motivator,” Tanner said. “She’s pushed me and has had my back more than anybody else ever has, she’s irreplaceable.”

Tanner’s love for wrestling consists of many different aspects but one stands out above the rest.  “I love the physical part of wrestling,” Tanner said. “There is nothing more exciting to me than going out and testing myself against someone who has been training as hard if not harder.”

Tanner has a few things on his mind for after high school but at the moment he plans to graduate in May and attend a college in the fall.