My name is Trevor Terris, and I’m a junior at Tonasket High School. Everyday when my classmates and I walk into the weight room for our conditioning class, we are also walking across our wrestling room. On the north wall we see the pictures of the 15 former wrestlers that have won State Championships for Tonasket High School. On the east wall we see all the wrestlers from Tonasket history who were participants at the State Wrestling Tournament. Tonasket has always had an excellent wrestling program. The success of those can mostly be attributed to the head coach, Dave Mitchell.
The success of the program starts at a young age. The little league program is unbelievable. Mitchell has around 60 kids a year, grades K-6 who come to practice four times a week. Mitchell doesn’t miss a practice, turning these kids into wrestling studs. Some of the high school wrestlers have been wrestling for 12 years already and haven’t even graduated yet.
Since 1978 he has led the team to four league championships, four district championships and a second place finish at State in AA. The program has had 25 state champions with eight kids repeating. Mitchell keeps coming back for more after 35 years of coaching. When I asked him why, he quickly answered, “I love what I do and I have athletes that want to be the best.” He also said his goal every year was to make every kid be the best he can. Mitchell makes champions out of newbies and others into repeating champions. This shows what a great coach he is, and what he can do. After the high school wrestling season is over, he takes kids to freestyle tournaments all over the Northwest.
The Mitchell family
(Kevin, Dave, Martin, Patrick and Brenda)
Photo by Brent Baker
Mitchell’s impact on wrestling started as a young man and has created a legacy within his own family. Dave Mitchell has been a teacher and head wrestling coach at Tonasket High School for 35 years. He is the P.E., conditioning and history teacher. Before coaching he was a State Champion at Issaquah High School. He later went to the University of Washington to wrestle for four years, including one red shirt year. His final year of eligibility was at Central Washington University where he finished his teaching degree. He has three boys who love wrestling almost as much as he does. Martin, Patrick and Kevin all have State Wrestling titles of their own. Martin is one of a handful of wrestlers who have four wrestling championships. One of Mitchell's fondest memories was when two of his boys (Martin and Patrick) were on the team that placed in the top four at the State Tournament. All three of his boys are now coaching wrestling in Washington state high schools. Martin is the head coach at Rogers High School and Kevin is the assistant. Patrick is the head coach at Chewelah High School. Dave Mitchell is now a part of the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has put his mark in Washington State wrestling, starting in our little town of Tonasket and ending at the Tacoma Dome. His commitment to the sport never ends, even after 35 years.