Ezra Outlaw earns 100th career win for Pennridge

INTERBORO — It took him a period to figure it out, but once it clicked Ezra Outlaw flipped Harry S Truman’s Brandon Wiley onto his back and pinned him midway through the second period of Saturday’s District One East Tournament. While Wiley was just next in a line of wrestlers in the way of the 220-pound Pennridge senior earning a district championship and more, Wiley will also be known as Outlaw’s 100th victim.

“This year, maybe half way through the season, I realized I could get 100 wins,’ Outlaw said. “I am just going to keep wrestling and I will celebrate this tonight.’

After 15 wins as a freshman at Souderton, Outlaw switched to Pennridge where he has grown into a great wrestler, a talented first-team all-league football player, and an even better person. Just like the 100th career win, it took a little bit to figure it out, but once he catches on, Outlaw takes off.

“He moved into the district with not much experience, but he is an athlete,’ Rams coach R.P. Norley said. “He picks it up a little quickly. He was 220 as a freshman and he is 213 pounds right now. His body has changed a lot. He traded in some fat for some muscle.’

Outlaw has pinned 48 in those 100 wins and has been a 220-pounder since his days with the Indians. While his weight has not changed much, the strength and skill level continues to be pushed to the next level. Outlaw has clinched his first ever spot in the Regional Tournament and expects to make the trip to Hershey as a competitor, not a spectator.

“I did not do as well as I wanted to in the postseason last year,’ Outlaw said. “Last season for the postseason I dropped down to 195, but I have always been 220 pounds, even middle school. This is the only weight class I know.’

A 35-8 record in his junior year really allowed for him to reach the prestigious bench mark. Once things improved in his life off the mat and in the classroom, his athletic abilities benefited as well. Outlaw lives with his football teammate Zack Hockman and his family. It has really helped settle Outlaw into a good mental state.

“The Hockmans took me in and helped me clear my mind so I could focus on school and wrestling,’ Outlaw said. “I had a rough year dealing with personal issues, but this year I have been able to stayed focused.’

The 100 wins were always a distant reality, but now that he has achieved the feat, Outlaw has opened his mind to the possibility of playing a sport, wrestling or football, at the collegiate level. A medal at the PIAA tournament would be a perfect resume builder for any school interested in Outlaw’s big and athletic frame. With a little bit more of that hard work and focus that got him from that dark place early in his high school years to a bright future he thinks about today, Outlaw knows anything is possible.

“The 100-win milestone shows hard work pays off,’ Outlaw said. “I think about college wrestling everyday, but I just want to get through this postseason. I cannot see myself not playing a sport.’

“He plays football and I could not get him on the mat in the summer,’ Norley said. “Despite that he has been impressive. He belongs on that podium at states. If does not make to the podium at Hershey we will feel we came up a little short. I wrestle the kid everyday and I know what he is capable of. Our goal is to get him on a podium and get him a college scholarship.’

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