Tyere Joyner, a senior on the Dover High School wrestling team, is hoping to close his final season with a state title at 140 pounds.

Age 18
Hometown Dover
School Dover High School
Grade 12
Weight Class 140 pounds
Height 5 feet 7 inches

Even though on paper it might not seem like the Dover High School wrestling team has made big strides this year, the Senators have wrestled close matches and put up a fight against some tough teams, showing improvement.

Leading the way for Dover is senior Tyere Joyner, 140 pounds, last year’s fourth-place finisher at states.

With just the state individual meet remaining, Joyner spoke to the Post Feb. 17 about his goals while finishing his career at Dover, as well as the team’s turnaround.

Q The team’s record improved from a year ago, including wins over some better teams. How did things start going in the right direction?
A I just feel like the guys that we had coming in worked harder than in the past, so everybody was on the same level. We were able to come together as a team this year, more than the other years, because in those years nobody stepped up. So I figured I had to step up and be the leader since all the other people older than me were gone. So that’s what I did, held the team together and let them know that even though we don’t have as many wrestlers or the best wrestlers as everybody else, we can compete with any other team as long as we have that drive.

Q You beat a Polytech team that earned the No. 2 seed in the Division II dual state tournament. Do you feel like in wins like that you snuck up on that team?
A Wins like that, especially because a lot of people don’t expect us to have any wins, they just think that Dover is not as good as any other team, but we showed a lot of teams this year that we were just as good as them. We competed. Even teams that might have beaten us by a lot of points, the score didn’t reflect how we wrestled on the mat. They won close decisions, but the score might look like they blew us out when it was really closer than it actually was.

Q Even though you’re graduating, are you happy to be leaving with the program going in the right direction?
A I know I helped start something. Now I can come back and help them like some people did from past teams that helped us. I want to see them go to the team states. I wasn’t able to go, but I watch it every year and I want to see them, my own team, go.

Q How would you assess your year from a personal standpoint?
A Pretty good. Last year I was undefeated. This year I came up just short of that, but finished strong. I won every match in my conference.

Q What are your goals going into state individuals this weekend?
A I’m just hoping to win a title. It’s my senior year so I’m going to leave everything on the mat. Last year, I lost a close match in the semifinals and I was one step away from being in the finals. I know how hard I worked this year, more than I worked last year, and each year I worked harder and harder, and know all the mistakes I made last year.

Q How do you prepare for a match?
A When I’m getting ready for my match, I usually stretch, warm-up, practice and go through my motions, do a little shot drill. I might grab a partner and get myself loose. Sometimes I listen to music to get myself calm and relaxed so I don’t mess up on the mat. Basically, you always want to get your legs moving, you want to keep that motion on the mat, don’t give your opponent the chance to take you down.

Q What’re your post-graduation plans?
A I got accepted to Penn State so I’m going to go out there. I want to wrestle but their team is ranked No. 1 in the nation, so it might be tough. But I will definitely go out there and try out for a team. It’s always been a dream for me to go to that school. I always wanted to go to a big college close to home, and it’s the No. 1 college around here. They accepted me for landscape architecture.

MOVIE I’ll watch anything
RAPPER Young Jeezy
FOOD Chinese food
NFL TEAM Baltimore Ravens

You can nominate a coach or player to be profiled here by emailing names and your reasons to brian.citino@doverpost.com

WHAT DIAA Individual Wrestling State Championships
WHEN 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26
WHERE St. Mark’s High School, 2501 Pike Creek Road, Wilmington
COST $5 for Friday, $6 for round two, $7 for consolation finals and finals on Saturday
MORE INFO http://diaa.ticketleap.com