It's every athlete's dream, I'd guess -- having a child follow in his/her footsteps.

But it doesn't happen as often as one might think.

Most of us know of the champion swimmer whose child doesn't like water.

Or a state champion track star whose son or daughter couldn't break the 10-minute mile or the 20-second 100-yard dash if their lives depended on it.

Or a state champion football, basketball or baseball player, maybe even a college star in their sport, but their offspring prefers photography or playing games on their cell phones.

And it's not always that the child doesn't like a particular sport, as much as he or she might not have any athletic ability, no hand-eye coordination, no fast-twitch muscles, no interest in sports.

Bruce Stambaugh, right, is shown with ex-West York coach John Toggas at the Bulldog Open in 2010.
Bruce Stambaugh, right, is shown with ex-West York coach John Toggas at the Bulldog Open in 2010. (Submitted photo)

Perhaps there was a good gene pool to draw from -- or, at least, half of one -- but a bad gene mix.

Or something like that.

But then, every once in a while, all the stars align and a student-athlete not only has some athletic ability in the same sport his/her parents played, but they have a passion for it. And not only are they just as good as Mom or Dad, they might be better.

That could be the case with New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) wrestler Dillon Stambaugh, of Red Bank Regional High School, who was the winner of the District 22 finals at 170 pounds with a 2-0 decision over Kyle Lynch of Raritan.

Dillon is the son of Bruce and Coleen Stambaugh. Bruce is a 1978 graduate of West York Area High School and its wrestling program.

The New Jersey high school wrestling set-up is a little bit different from what we're used to in York County and Pennsylvania. The District 22 competition, for example, is the equivalent of our sectional championships, more or less.

So Dillon, by our standards, just won a sectional championship. As important, his District 22 championship win happened to be his 100th career victory, the first time any wrestler at Red Bank has broken the century mark.

Members of the 1976-77 West York team are, from left, front row: Rodney Stough, Bob Gay, Bill Pope, Ken Shorts, Chuck Nace, Todd Reynolds, Steve Toggas,
Members of the 1976-77 West York team are, from left, front row: Rodney Stough, Bob Gay, Bill Pope, Ken Shorts, Chuck Nace, Todd Reynolds, Steve Toggas, Larry Gay, Barry Gay; back row: Mark Har´rington, Lynn Martin, Bruce Stambaugh, Brett Spangler, Dave Stram, Bob Brown, Scott Luckenbaugh, John Reiber, Perry Tallman, Randy Blasdell. (Submitted photo)

His record for this season is 35-2, as it now stands, with more bouts coming. His four-year career stats show a combined won/loss record of 100-27, with half of those losses coming in his freshman season. His only two losses this season came by a 1-0 decision and a 3-1 decision in overtime in the 182-pound class.

Dillon also plays football and baseball -- a catcher, he led the team in hitting last season with a .404 average. In fact, he was a dominant player -- an outside linebacker -- in Red Bank's state playoff run last year in football. He led the team in tackles three straight years.

Proud poppa was, in his day, a fine wrestler, as well. He was part of the 1976-77 and 1977-78 teams at West York that won YCIAA league championships. He was selected first-team all-county after the 1977-78 season.

His three-year career record at West York was 40-16, but don't let that fool you because back then guys didn't wrestle as many matches each season as they do today. He was an undefeated 15-0 in league action in his senior year and finished 17-2.

He's also listed on the West York Wrestling Alumni website, which is managed by another former West York grappler, Don Lehman, as one of the program's top 160-pounders ever.

Plus, he played football and baseball at West York, and is a decent golfer, as well.

And Bruce was good enough on the mats to have moved on after graduation from high school to wrestle at East Stroudsburg University, where he lettered in 1980.

A few years ago, Bruce started a junior wrestling program as a feeder program for the Red Bank Regional High School.

So he's invested in wrestling.

And it looks like his son, Dillon, is headed down the same road.

A senior, he is considering an offer to wrestle at Roger Williams University, Bristol, R.I., which had a 17-6 record this year.

The next stop for Dillon is the New Jersey Regional wrestling championships, which started Wednesday at Toms River, N.J. He drew a first-round bye in his weight class and will wrestle his first match Thursday afternoon.

Anyone interested in following Dillon's progress is encouraged to sign on to the WestYorkWrestlingAlumni.com website.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick s@yorkdispatch.com.