Russian finds home as Scotts Valley wrestler
by Mandy Silver
Mar 13, 2014 | 2451 views | 0 0 comments | 212 212 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scotts Valley High senior Baldan Dashiev. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Scotts Valley High senior Baldan Dashiev. Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
When Baldan Dashiev first stepped first foot on United States soil four years ago, he only knew a handful of English words.

Today, Dashiev juggles four International Baccalaureate classes at Scotts Valley High School, recently completed a successful high school wrestling career and plans to join the United States Air Force and eventually earn his bachelor’s degree in medical or computer science.

Dashiev was born in Siberia, Russia, where he lived with his mother, Liudimila Dashieva, until he was in third grade. From Siberia, Dashiev and his mother moved to the other side of Russia, to Moscow, where they lived for the next four years.

“It threw me off on my academics,” Dashiev said. “One end of the country is a lot different from the other end.”

Academics were not the only thing that was affected by the move. His social standing took a hit.

“I was bullied a lot in Moscow because I was different from everybody else,” he said. “My mom decided to put me somewhere, off the streets and out of trouble. She pushed me into wrestling and from that time on I just kept going.”

Dashiev and his mother lived in Moscow until he was in seventh grade, then they moved back to Siberia. A few months after moving back, Dashiev’s mother needed to move to the U.S. for business, but Dashiev did not join her until a year later when he had completed middle school in Siberia, and could come to California as an upcoming freshman.

“It was pretty strange at first,” Dashiev said. “It was a big change with different people and a different way of thinking.”

With one year of English class under his belt, Dashiev found the first semester of his freshman year at Scotts Valley High School very difficult. He was able to start a tutoring program a Spanish teacher at the school, Lee Else, who would tutor him every morning before school.

“English was the hardest class,” Dashiev said. “At first I was only able to say a few words. But I was able to progress and I eventually dropped out of the program.”

Despite major differences between wrestling in Russia and wrestling in the United States, Dashiev continued the sport in the U.S., for the Falcon wrestling team.

“It was quite a challenge,” Dashiev said. “Because in Russia it’s freestyle, but in high school here, it’s fox style. I learned it quickly but I still had those tensions to do things you can do in freestyle but can’t do in fox style.”

Even with the differences, Dashiev managed to qualify for the Central Coast Section tournament his freshman year.

“I had good records,” Dashiev said. “But I didn’t place in a lot of tournaments. Sophomore year I placed in more and had better records.”

All four years Dashiev qualified for CCS. In his junior year, he went to the quarter finals and finished 2-2. Two weekends ago, in his final trip to CCS, on Feb. 28 and March 1, he finished 2-2 wrestling at 182 pounds. Before that, he had taken second at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League finals at 182 pounds.

“I like how challenging wrestling is,” Dashiev said. “When I started in fourth grade, I thought ‘I’m going to quit this’ but as I went through it, it got easier to me. I started understanding that I got stronger because of wrestling, stronger in my mind, and I was able to push it through. That’s the main thing about wrestling; it pushes you to the limits that you don’t know that you can do.”

Dashiev is glad that his mother and he came to the U.S.

“I have two perspectives of two different worlds,” said Dashiev. “It changed me in a good way. I met new people and I made new challenges for myself.”

After completing the Air Force and earning a bachelor’s degree, Dashiev hopes to travel more.

“I want to go back to Russia, and then I want to go more towards Asia,” he said.

- To comment, e-mail intern reporter Mandy Silver at, call 438-2500 or post a comment at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at