Columbia Central 1982 State Champion heavyweight wrestler Walt Dunayczan has some words of encouragement for Mercaydeez Scott, shown above.
By Matt Schepeler
In the February 12 edition we ran the story of Mercaydeez Scott of Columbia Central High School who won the first MHSAA state sanctioned wrestling girls title. But, it turned out, she was not the first state champion to come out of Columbia Central, as was stated in the paper.
We received a note from former coach Ted Gulliver reminding us that in 1982, Walt Dunayczan won 39 consecutive matches, capping the season with a state heavyweight title by pinning Joe Mikozes of Oscoda in 2:52.
Walt Dunayzan and his high school wrestling coach, Ted Gulliver.
Dunayczan also competed well nationally that year, placing third in the nation in Greco-Roman competition and seventh in freestyle at the national meets. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, and excelled in track and football.
In fact the board of education named May 12, 1982 as Walt Dunayczan Day.”
After high school Walt attended the University of Michigan, where he wrestled and studied psychology.
He said in an interview that the highlight of his wrestling career was finishing as the USA 1984 undefeated national champion in both Greco and Freestyle, and winning the 1984 Bronze medal in the world championship in Stockholm Sweden.
Walt could kick some serious butt on the mat. But he was smart, too. Walt went on to get his Masters Degree in Sport and Performance Psychology at Regis University, and is now an owner, CEO and practitioner at Sport Psychology, a company in Florida.
The former heavyweight state and national champion was happy to learn that Columbia Central has another champion wrestler. “Now we can have a champion’s club,” he said with a laugh.
So what advice would he give to the young wrestler?
“Feel proud of your accomplishments on and off the mat,” he said. “They are definitely good lessons for life. Use those tools anytime that you get down a little bit. When something doesn’t go your way, you just get back up.” (More below Legion wild game dinner ad)
All these years later, Dunayczan is still involved in wrestling, and is an ambassador at USA Wrestling. “The dedication, determination, and discipline – the three D’s we call it in USA Wrestling – really prepare you for later in life,” he said.
Dunayczan works with professional athletes and hopes to transition into collegiate-level sports. He lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, but has never forgotten his hometown roots.
“I’m very proud, as a Brooklyn Columbia Central alum, to have outstanding athletes continuing the tradition.”