Ligonier Valley's Patrick eyes elusive PIAA wrestling crown
There isn't a day that goes by when Ligonier Valley senior Robby Patrick doesn't think about winning a PIAA wrestling title.
Patrick is a two-time runner-up, losing in 2017 to Susquehanna Township junior Ed Ruth, 3-1, in sudden victory at 152 pounds.
The three-time District 6 and Southwest Regional champion finished 38-2 in 2016-17, with both losses to Ruth.
He enters his final season 110-14.
He fell 5-0 to Southern Columbia's Kent Lane in the 2015 PIAA final at 132.
Patrick needs four victories, which could come at the Hampton Duals on Saturday, to become the Rams' all-time winner, edging his brother Josh (113-20).
But Patrick isn't thinking about breaking his brother's record. The Virginia commit is focused on getting better every day and pushing himself to reach certain daily goals.
“The (PIAA) loss gives me added motivation this season,” Patrick said. “I knew I was there, now I'm just trying to separate myself from other people so it won't be that close. It's about me separating myself from the rest of the pack and it motivates me every day, just like it did my freshman year (PIAA runner-up) and my sophomore year.”
Patrick said making an early commitment took a load off his shoulders so he can focus on this season. Patrick said he picked Virginia because of its academics and because the program is building into a power.
He also changed his workout routine this summer.
He didn't compete in as many events, instead concentrating on getting stronger. He took time off so he wouldn't burn himself out and gained 25 pounds.
Patrick also worked on new techniques, ones he will need to be successful in college. He still has his go-to moves: a cross-wrist tilt and an over-tie head shrug.
“I pride myself on effort and the pace I go,” Patrick said. “I did what I wanted to in the finals. I pushed the pace, but I think I forced things too much in that match. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I won that match, but on the scoreboard he won.
“Going forward, I feel I'm in a good situation to achieve my goals. I do pride myself off my effort. I just want to have fun.”
His goal is to peak at regionals like he did a year ago. Patrick will wrestle at 171 pounds this season.
“I want to achieve something great,” Patrick said. “So I try to work on different things every day at practice. We're running a college-type practice. It's helping the entire team.
“What I learned about the sport is the smallest things can make the big difference. It's learning the small things that make a difference over time.”
But right now, he's just focused on the Hampton Duals.