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For Patriot senior Anthony Olsen, standing at the top of the "1" stair along the gymnasium wall at Osbourn Park High School is standard operating procedure.
Patriot’s Olsen takes first, Catron second at Battle of Manassas
© Gainesville TimesFor Patriot senior Anthony Olsen, standing at the top of the "1" stair along the gymnasium wall at Osbourn Park High School is standard operating procedure.
His chest still expanding and contracting rapidly, his hair prickly and blackened from sweat, Olsen clutched a wooden plaque in his right hand and held a bracket in his left on Saturday evening.
The plaque indicated the 182--pounder once again won the Battle of Manassas wrestling tournament for his second straight time since transferring to Patriot from Stonewall Jackson.
He is the only Patriot wrestler to do so during the last two years, though his teammate Zach Catron, for the second straight year, grabbed a silver of his own this weekend in the 195-pound weight class while the Pioneers as a whole came in fourth at 149 points.
However, the bracket printout Olsen held is even more telling of his strength.
Two victories came from "byes" -- as in, no one challenged him.
When he finally did get going, a 12-3 decision over Good Counsel, the school that won the team title for the tournament, preceded Olsen pinning his Manassas Park opponent in 90 seconds, giving him a perfect 4-0 record heading into the finals.
One problem beset him, however:
About four hours went by between the senior's last regulation match and the championship round.
So, he napped for an hour. He paced. He rocked out to Staind and Imagine Dragons through his earbuds.
Yet a self-described "groggy" Olsen didn't fully come to until he found himself trailing against Antonio Agee of Hayfield in the finals, the same guy he beat 11-1 on Dec. 21.
"I looked at the scoreboard and was down by one, so I said, 'Dang, I need to work,'' recalled the senior during a post-match interview.
That he did, winning by a 9-6 final in his second toughest match of the season.
Last year, host team Osbourn Park provided Olsen his biggest challenge of the season at the Battle of Manassas as it took until the final round before he claimed a permanent lead during the finals.
At 25-1 overall this year, his lone loss is actually one more loss than he had all during the regular season during the 2011-2012 campaign.
That came by a 12-10 margin only when he wrestled up a weight class against an all-state contender in Brendan Kammerdeiner of Freedom (South Riding) during a tournament on Dec. 12.
What's crucial now for Patriot is that Olsen is no longer expected to carry the team by himself with an occasional solid tournament showing from a teammate.
His fellow seniors are picking up the pace.
Catron is now reliably finishing in the top spots at tournaments among 195-pounders as is Chad Lehner, who collected three pins on his way to a third-place showing in the 126-pound division on Saturday.
"Anthony really technical, so I've learned how to stop his shots," said Catron, explaining how he's applied what he's learned from training with Olsen to actual events.
Lehner also practiced frequently with Olsen during the off-season.
"He's starting to score from all positions," said Patriot head coach Brian Foley.
Kevin Eitenne, a 160-pounder, sported a 10-0 record at one point this season before missing some time due to an injury.
According to Foley, "We've been dealing with a lot of injuries" this season.
Some of the newest members of the team are turning heads too, according to Olsen.
"The uprising freshmen are hungry for the varsity spot," he said.
Chief among them is 220-pounder Tucker Johnson, who placed fourth on Jan. 5 after winning with a pin and two "byes" before dropping his final two matches.
Sophomores Christian Gillett and James Robertson are also among those showing some promise, as Robertson ended up third at Osbourn Park in the 138-pound class while Gillett checked in fifth among the 130-pounders.
"He wants to know how to tilt people. He's got a dirty double leg," said Olsen about Gillett.