RADNOR >> The way Blair Orr sees it, every chance he gets to wrestle, whether it’s in the wrestling room at Episcopal Academy or on a mat like at the 40th annual Radnor Holiday Tournament, is a chance to get better.
And so the senior 113-pounder was all business Saturday.
Orr’s goal is to get back to the National Prep Schools tournament, where he earned All-America honors with a fourth-place finish at 106 pounds a year ago. And every match, every practice is another step toward that goal.
He’s not about to let anything get in his way.
“I’m always looking toward the end of the season,” Orr said. “Right now I’m just building toward the end the season, doing what I can to prepare for nationals. And tournaments like this give me a chance to work on all the moves I work on in practice. It helps get me to a point where the moves become second nature.”
Orr added four more wins to his resume, not to mention a tournament title and the Outstanding Wrestler award to help the Churchman finish third in the team scoring behind tournament champion Avon Grove and runnerup Great Valley.
Orr was one of two champions for EA. Paul McGlaughlin took the title at 220 pounds, while teammates Alex Bendinelli and Alex Sladek finished second at 126 and 132, respectively.
“It means a lot to win any tournament,” Orr said. “I had a good time. I had fun competing and going out there and doing what I had to do to win.”
While his short-term goal is to get back to nationals, his long-term objective is to wrestle in college. He’s still winding his way through that maze. Orr said he was looking at Pitt, Maryland, Sacred Heart, Franklin & Marshall and Penn.
My senior year is flying by and going fast and I’m excited for the future,” Orr said. “It’s been a long process, kind of frustrating, but hopefully I’ll know soon.”
Andrew Parente of The Haverford School has a few years before he has to make that life-altering decision. He’s just a freshman. But, like Orr, everything Parente does is geared toward qualifying for the national prep tournament. He took a step in that direction by pinning Avon Grove’s Kevin Ortiz to win the 106-pound weight class.
“That’s my goal, If not this year, then next year,” Parente said. “I really want to get up there on the podium for national preps. That’s my goal.”
Parente’s victory in the final was his second over Ortiz in the tournament. Parente also defeated Ortiz in the first round and he remembered something from that first meeting that helped him in the championship bout.
“I threw a single (leg) on him in that match so I immediately went for that,” Parente said. “I didn’t get it right away, but went for it again and I got it.”
Parente got a takedown and then three back points. He added three more back points in the second period before finishing Ortiz off with 26.7 seconds left in the period.
“Once I got it and got on top I knew I could ride him out,” Parente said.
Parente wasn’t the only Haverford School wrestler to come away with a title. Ryan Shepard beat Episcopal’s Alex Bendinelli to win the 126-pound title. Chase McCollum topped James Lledo of Lower Merion in the 152-pound final.
Michael Clymer finished second at 138-pounds for the Fords, while Vince Corradetti (145) and Ryan Santos (220) finished third in their respective weight classes.
Archbishop Carroll had two champions. Nick Poulos went 4-0 to win the 132-pound class. Jack McQuaid was 5-0 and came away with the 170-pound title. Radnor’s Chase Ressler and Tom Subak were the only over Delco wrestlers to finish in the top two. Ressler was second at 182, while Suback fell to McGlaughlin in the 220-pound final.
In nonleague action:
Chichester falls twice >> Chase Whartnaby was the only Eagle to win twice as Chi fell to Downingtown West, 58-6, and dropped a tough, 36-34 decision to Bayard Rustin.
Whartnaby pinned Ethan Niemeyer in 3:57 at 106 pounds for Chichester’s only victory against Downingtown West. He then pinned Rustin’s Thomas Casey in 2:29 for his second win of the day.
Mason McClure (120), Jovani Perez (160) and Fazian Raza (285) also won by fall against Rustin. Noah Harvey scored a major decision at 170 and Jeffrey Smarkola won by decision at 132, but Rustin got pins from Andrew Rice (182), Owen Walsh (220) and Lourido (126) and accepted a forfeit in the final bout (145) to earn the two-point victory.
Chichester left without a win, but the Eagles got a lot out of the competition. Early on against West, it was the Whippet winners walking back to their bench with their heads down, as the Eagles pushed them for six minutes.
Two costly forfeits proved fatal against Rustin, but Chichester coach Jim Beletti liked what he saw.
“This is why we’re here,” Beletti said. “We came to get some good competition. There’s some stuff we can build from with to get better for the postseason. Wrestling Downingtown West and Rustin helps our guys put perspective to where they’re at with their toughness and as a wrestler. We wanted to see our guys wrestle tough and I thought we could’ve won one, but they battled and I’m happy with that showing.”
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