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Panthers’ Binion shining on mat after giving up basketball

Miles ahead of the pack

Dylan Binion is a worker.

The Erie High School sophomore 152-pounder on the Panthers wrestling team impressed his coach with his work ethic, but it wasn't necessarily on the mat.

"He lives about 10 miles out of town," Panthers coach Tod McCullough said. "Before he got his driver's license, he'd ride his bike to the weightroom, lift for an hour-and-a-half, come to open mat for an hour, then ride his bike home. You don't see that in many kids anymore."

Binion, who is 26-6 this season and receiving honorable mention in the Illinois Matmen rankings, also loves basketball. He had to choose between hoops and the mat heading into high school.

"It was a really hard decision," the soft-spoken Binion said. "It was hard to pick which one I wanted to do, and which one I like more and wanted to go further with.

"I play basketball all the time. I still support the [basketball] team and go to as many games as I can. Sometimes I wish I could still play. I get that feeling like back in middle school when I played."

It would seem that Binion made the right choice. Success helped with the decision.

After wrestling briefly as a youth, Binion did not take it up again until sixth grade. He went to the IESA state tournament as a seventh-grader, then placed third at state as an eighth-grader.

He didn't immediately commit to wrestling again as a sixth-grader.

"I didn't go out right away," Binion said. "It was like a couple weeks into the season that I decided I was going to do this."

As a freshman, Binion stepped right into the 152-pound spot in the varsity lineup. He went on to a third-place finish at regionals.

It's not always the strongest that survive on the mat.

"A lot of people are stronger than me, but I kind of make up for it with quickness," Binion said.

"He's a heck of an athlete," McCullough said. "When they bring that much talent, it makes you look good. I think any time he wants, he can take people down. He's got a nice, quick double. When he wants to go get it, he's hard to defend."

Basketball isn't the only love Binion has put aside.

"During the summer, I used to ride motocross with my cousin. I've tried to get away from that. I did it once last summer. I put it away. I don't want to get hurt for sports. I did it for a few years a couple years ago. I did every race in Morrison."

Binion file

School: Erie

Year: Sophomore

Resides: Albany

Sports: Football, track, wrestlng

This season: 26-6, honorable mention in Illinois Matmen rankings

Other accomplishments: Placed third as eighth-grader at IESA state wrestling tournament. ... Starting linebacker for Erie-Prophetstown's playoff football team last fall.

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