Remember the name Darrell “Debo Two-Time” Mason. The 2022 Division II NCAA Champion may have competed in his last tournament as a Maverick, but the 2023 NCAA Championship third-place finisher is determined to make sure that wasn’t the last time you hear of him on the big stage.
The Chicago native got his start in wrestling at the Harvey Twisters Wrestling Team. The senior didn’t always have the love for wrestling that he does now. He, in fact, hated wrestling when he first started. The tough opponents at Harvey Twisters made him not enjoy it very much.
“The practices that we used to have, if you beat up all the kids younger than you and in your age group, you had to go up to all the older kids,” said Mason. “Once you keep going, I started hating it because the older kids actually knew how to wrestle.”
When Mason got to high school, he didn’t want to wrestle anymore. He instead put his focus into football where he played running back and middle linebacker. During his sophomore season, his football team missed the playoffs by a whisker.
After the season ended, he was approached by the school’s wrestling coach about joining the wrestling team. He was initially hesitant about joining the team but eventually caved and as Mason put it, “I don’t have anything better to do.”
One of the big differences between wrestling in high school compared to the collegiate level that Mason sighted, is that in high school he felt like there wasn’t stiff competition until he was competing in state and regional tournaments. Meanwhile in college, the sport is more about technique.
“In college, everyone is good. It is about more hardwork and dedication. It is actually about blood, sweat and tears,” said Mason.
Going into the 2023 Nationals as the reigning champion, Mason had his sights set on winning again. Despite coming up just short, Mason was quite happy with his performance in the tournament.
“I feel good about it, no matter what, I feel good about it,” said Mason.
He also expressed some disappointment as he labeled his elimination in the quarterfinals as shocking. “I know I could have beat that guy,” Mason said.
There are some lessons that he took away from the loss. “It was like a little reset button. Never get too comfortable,” said Mason.
Some of Mason’s pre-match rituals consist of, “God on my side, breathing, drinking water, drinking gatorade, getting mentally and physically prepared, and going and wrestling Deebo style.”
Being hungry, happy, humble and smart are the lessons that the senior has gotten from his career in wrestling, and he applies them to his daily life.
Mason is majoring in applied leadership with goals of becoming either a head coach, advisor or social worker.
After his senior year, Mason has no plans to stop his journey in combat sports. When discussing his plans for after school, Mason said “Hopefully I get a shot at the NCAA 2024 Summer Olympics, WWE, UFC or MMA.”
Header Photo: Senior wrestler Darrell Mason placed third at the NCAA National Championships. He hopes to continue a career on the big stage after graduation. (Photo Courtesy of Darell Mason)
Write to Mohamed Warsame at firstname.lastname@example.org