ALL GROWN UP: David Leasau wins Dysart’s first wrestling title in about 3 decades

Dysart High senior and Division III heavyweight wrestling champ David Leasau poses for a photograph Feb. 20 at Dysart High School in El Mirage. [Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps]

Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

The Leasau family arrived in El Mirage in 2010 and their son John-George quickly starred on the Dysart Demons football and wrestling teams.

Five years later, younger brother David arrived for his freshman year. And he may have been too big for his own good.

“We’ve been here since 2010. They all started with football. Then the (wrestling) coach saw John George on campus, he invited him to come out and wrestle,” his father, John Leasau, said. “When David got involved as a freshman, there wasn’t a heavyweight on varsity. So he started as a freshman. It was a big learning curve. His mom would sit in the stands and watch her son get tossed around.”

Doris Leasau’s maternal instincts kicked in.If they had, Dysart High would still be searching for its first state wrestling champion in three decades.

“It was definitely different when John George was wrestling. He would pick a kid up and I’d be like, ‘Oh yay!’ When David wrestled as a freshman against Agua Fria he got thrown across the mat. I told him he didn’t have to wrestle. I knew how those other parents felt. If it were up to me, he wouldn’t have wrestled after that,” she said. “But he hung in there and I’m proud of him, not just on the mat but off it.”

Leasau finished his high school career by pinning his way through the Division III heavyweight division en route to the title.

“I couldn’t believe it. It just didn’t seem like it would happen. I didn’t start to realize it after we left,” David Leasau said.

Part of the surprise stems from his beginning. Leasau only won three matches his freshman year.As a junior, David was up to fourth place in the state by his junior year.

Still, he did not truly see himself as a contender until he upset Yuma senior Shane Garcia at sectionals early in February.

“My confidence went up. I think it was after sectionals, coming out on top put me on a high. I knew I had to keep that mindset,” Leasau said. “Yuma has a great program and I remember beating myself up coming into that sectionals match. I realized that it wasn’t a fluke that I won, that I had that ability.”

His roll almost stopped cold in his quarterfinal match with Tempe Marcos de Niza senior Ellye Hill.

“After he got me with a really good take down, I tried to hit a switch and my shoulder popped. I was laying there and my injury time was almost up — I was really hurting. Coach made me decide if I would go on or not. I really was about to give up. I didn’t wanted it to end like that. So I got up and fought and ended up winning,” Leasau said. “After that match, a coach from Sahuarita massaged (the shoulder) for me and popped it back in.”

He was the underdog entering the finals match against Tempe senior Orlando Molina.

“I don’t think I’ve ever beat him, besides our finals match,” Leasau said.

With everything on the line, he pinned Molina in 1:25.

“I’ve been here as long as the family has, and I know they wanted that for all their other sons,” Dysart coach Ben Bloom said. “When David came out on top I saw dad’s eyes and mom’s eyes. They were just gleaming. Big John, one of his older brothers, just screamed out.”

Assistant coaches Cale Thompson and Omar Camacho coached him for four years, so Bloom made sure they joined in the celebration.

“Those were the ones that have been with him day in and day out. I said, ‘You guys are definitely on the floor with him,’ at sectionals and at state,” Bloom said. “The coaches were more excited than David. But I think that’s a true exhibition of how he is with respect. He respected his opponent, the coaches and the sport. It was really cool to see.”

David’s easygoing demeanor continued after the match, while most people around him were celebrating more wildly.

“I was proud that he won and got it done. When he won, it was almost like just another match because he calmly walked to the circle waiting to shake his opponent’s hand and have the ref raise his hand. It wasn’t like he was jumping around. He’s been humble after every win he ever had,” John Leasau said.

David finished with a 42-2 record after missing a couple early season duals while trying losing to lose the bulk he gained to be a two-way lineman in football.

He said he wants to play both sports in college and study accounting.

Doris Leasau said her son is ready for the next step and credited the wrestling program for providing a solid foundation.

“I always loved how the wrestling coaches held the kids to a certain standard. Just because you were a great wrestler didn’t matter. If you weren’t a good citizen, you weren’t wrestling,” Doris Leasau said.

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