Meyers’ victory part of a family tradition

RADNOR — The Meyers family is an institution of Radnor wrestling. Ten times, John, Bob, and Tom competed in the Radnor Holiday Wrestling Tournament. Ten times, the three brothers emerged winners. Tom — the youngest of the trio — culminated that spectacular run Saturday.

The senior defeated Sun Valley’s Steve Okoorian in the 170-pound final, 3-2, to ensure his family would end its holiday tournament career undefeated.

“It was important,’ said Meyers, who will play lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts next year. “I knew this was my last year and I wanted to make the most of it.

“My dad told me last night about the 10-in-10 thing. That was huge for me.’

Meyers and his two older brothers — John graduated in 2009, Bob in 2011 — beamed as they posed for photos to commemorate the remarkable achievement. Tom went four-for-four as a Raider in Radnor’s home meet.

The last win may have been his most difficult. Okoorian pinned his first two opponents and earned a tech fall victory over his third.

“I knew it’d be a tough match,’ Meyers said. “He’s fast, strong. But he could be a little heavy-footed and I took advantage.’

Okoorian was also wrestling up a weight class. The unquestioned leader of the Vanguards seeks to restore his school’s reputation to match its storied past. Meyers is where Okoorian and Sun Valley want to be.

“Steven is what Sun Valley used to be all about. He’s hard-nosed, he’s as tough as they come,’ said Vanguard coach Tom Ellis. “I’ll tell you this — he hates to lose more than he loves to win.’

When Ellis took over Sun Valley three years ago, nine wrestlers showed up at the start of the season. Saturday, at least that many lined the mat to cheer on Okoorian against Meyers. Twenty-eight are on the roster. Part of the increased interest in the sport is Ellis’s dedication to the craft. A lot of credit, though, must go to Okoorian.

“I just love him,’ said Ellis of his captain. “He’s my guy.’

Ellis’ guy sports four distinct tattoos that define the 18-year-old. A Pennsylvania wrestling tattoo on his right thigh serves as motivation in his chosen sport. A cross on his left arm signifies Okoorian’s faith and family. A lion scrawled on his chest represents his strength, courage, and, well, his love of big cats. Sun Valley ‘ 15 on his left thigh completes the quartet.

“I just love Sun Valley,’ Okoorian said.

He demonstrates that love in all he does. Okoorian circled the mats at Radnor high-fiving every teammate he came into contact with throughout the day. He watched their matches as well, sometimes from the stands, other times from the seat next to his coaches at the side of the mat.

“I love my team,’ Okoorian said. “I do whatever I can to keep them motivated.’

He has little need to motivate himself. There is no off switch. During downtime between his matches — and there was a lot of it on a day that started at 9 a.m. — Okoorian bounced around the gym with his white Beats by Dre head phones on with Eminem’s Pandora station blaring. He chatted with opponents and even referees. More often than not, he stopped to watch a match.

“You can always learn something,’ Okoorian said. “There’s always room for learning. You pick up different things from different wrestlers.’

At one point he followed intently as athletes from the Haverford School and Great Valley grappled in the 113 class. Okoorian held up two fingers to signal two points, nodded as the referee concurred, and returned to his routine.

His day was nearly complete with a gold medal. But he ran into a talented opponent with an emotional drive.

“I have to work harder,’ said Okoorian of his match with Meyers. “He’s a good wrestler. He’s strong.’

Meyers flexed as he walked away from the official as if anyone needed a reminder.

Sun Valley claimed second place in the team standings behind Haverford School. Sean Donohue won the 132-pound division, while Christian Bateman handled the Fords’ Jack Gola, 11-2, at 138. It was a good day for the Vanguards. It was a great one for the Meyers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply