Robert Patrick Wins Freak Show as PA Grabs Three Titles

Robert Patrick did OK by his standards at the Super 32 Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., two weeks ago. But a 2-2 performance wasn’t quite what he wanted.

The Ligonier Valley junior found it a week and 2,000 miles later at the Freak Show in Las Vegas, where he won the 160-pound title with a fall, a tech fall, two majors and a 4-3 victory over Michael O’Malley of New Jersey, who FloWrestling has ranked No. 14 at 152 pounds.

“It was a great experience,” Patrick said Monday, about 12 hours after a red-eye flight brought him back to Pennsylvania. “I got to wrestle some good kids, and you’re obviously in Las Vegas, so you get to experience that life as well. I had fun with my dad and winning is always fun, too. I got to wrestle and beat some good kids.”

Patrick beat Austin Fox of Texas 12-1, then pinned California’s Daniel Jurado in 37 seconds. A 19-8 victory over Sean Harman sent Patrick to the semifinals, where he scored a technical fall over Colorado’s Kolsen Welham. That set up the final match with O’Malley.

“I was focused on every single match, but that’s the one I wanted going into the tournament,” Patrick said.

A first-period slideby helped Patrick take a 2-0 lead in the first. O’Malley escaped, then rode Patrick for the entire second period. Another escape tied it at 2, but Patrick used a sweep single for a decisive second takedown, as O’Malley only managed another escape.

Patrick said the result can only help his confidence level heading into the high school season.

“It probably builds it,” he said. “We’re still moving forward. I’ll continue to work. I just have to mentally prepare and be mentally stronger. That’s something I lacked last year. It’s technique just like wrestling technique is. I hope to pick it up big time over the course of the season.”

After finishing second in the state in Class AA at 145 pounds as a freshman, Patrick slipped last year. He went 37-4 and won a regional title, but he didn’t place in Hershey. That’s something he’s had to think about for the past six months.

“It was hard,” he said of dealing with the mental side of not placing. “It was a very hard thing to do. You just can’t give up on yourself. I couldn’t give up on myself. I just had to keep moving forward and try to fix little things that separated the best from myself. I’ll always work on those things. There are always little things to fix.”

He’s had a busy summer with John and Jody Strittmatter, as he works to get back to the PIAA finals.

“My work has increased a lot,” Patrick said. “My goal and focus has narrowed down to little things. I competed and this was probably my first good tournament I had. John and Jody just kept saying, you’ll have one good weekend where you’ll beat one good kid and then another, and it will all just click.”

Patrick believes that his 1-2 performance in Hershey in the spring is one reason that his phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook since college coaches were first able to contact him. He said there were a few college coaches at the Freak Show and that he talked with a Michigan State coach.

If he keeps performing like he did this weekend, Patrick will have plenty more lining up to speak with him.

He said that he hopes to get certified for 152 pounds – which would allow him to drop to 152 once the 2-pound allowance kicks in – but could begin the season at 160 or perhaps even 170, even though he only weighs about 162.

“I just try to wrestle the best competition,” Patrick said. “That’s why my dad took me (to Las Vegas). Last year, my mindset was just win the match, win the match. This year’s it’s go out and have fun and score points. I just realized it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, just go out and do your best and get better.”

Patrick was not the only Keystone State wrestler to leave Sin City with a Freak Show Championship as Connellsville Area sophomore Kyle Burkholder claimed the 113 lbs. Championship in the Varsity Division and Cathedral Prep eighth grader Cole Rees won the 15 & Under Championship at 137 lbs.

Rees dominated his way at 137 lbs. earning a tech-fall, a major decision, and two falls including a 0:37 pin in the finals. Burkholder, a 2016 Regional Qualifier as a freshman, had to grind through three tight matches, one in tie-breaker, but recorded three first period falls including a 0:47 pin in the Championship finals.


cole reese15 & Under 137 – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) – Champion

Champ. Round 1 – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) won by tech fall over Dakota Gutierrez (Wrestling Prep) (TF 16-0)
Champ. Round 2 – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) won by fall over Alex Young (Grindhouse W/C) (Fall 0:52)
Quarterfinal – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) won by decision over Justus Scott (Green Valley HS) (Dec 7-0)
Semifinal – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) won by major decision over Riley Van Scoy (Pincity) (Maj 13-1)
1st Place Match – Cole Rees (Cathedral Prep) won by fall over Kamyn Stonebraker (Grindhouse W/C) (Fall 0:34)



Varsity 113 – Kyle Burkholder (Connellsville Area) – Champion

Champ. Round 1 – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won by fall over Dominigue Mastas (Portage Northern) (Fall 0:46)
Champ. Round 2 – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won by decision over Brandon Basa (Carson Bulldog) (Dec 2-1)
Champ. Round 3 – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won in tie breaker – 1 over Sal Jones (Finger Lakes W/C) (TB-1 1-0)
Quarterfinal – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won by fall over Jonathon Hansen (Team Utah) (Fall 1:07)
Semifinal – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won by decision over Nathan Kiddoo (Ramona Dawg Pound) (Dec 10-8)
1st Place Match – Kyle Burkholder (Young Guns) won by fall over Gabriel Gray (505 W/C) (Fall 0:47)


High School Elite 160 – Robert Patrick (Ligonier Valley) – Champion

Champ. Round 1 – Robert Patrick (Young Guns) won by major decision over Austin Fox (Mile High W/C) (Maj 12-1)
Champ. Round 2 – Robert Patrick (Young Guns) won by fall over Daniel Jurado (Servite HS) (Fall 0:37)
Quarterfinal – Robert Patrick (Young Guns) won by major decision over Sean Harman (All-Phase W/C) (Maj 19-8)
Semifinal – Robert Patrick (Young Guns) won by tech fall over Kolsen Welham (Mile High W/C) (TF 16-0)
1st Place Match – Robert Patrick (Young Guns) won by decision over Michael OMalley (Apex) (Dec 4-3)

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