Wednesday’s edition included part two of our story on Oxford Academy graduate J.P. O’Connor. Due to some technical errors on our end, part one appeared in print edition, but not online. If you’re strictly an online Evening Sun reader, here is a portion of part one:
BOSTON – J.P. O’Connor won four New York State scholastic wrestling titles at Oxford Academy. He went on to become a four-time all-American at Harvard winning the 157 NCAA Division One title as a senior in 2010. Less than a year later, O’Connor is pushing toward his final goal as a wrestler – to make the U.S. Olympic team.
With a future in the medical profession now on hold, O’Connor is working his way up the ladder as a freestyle wrestler attempting to qualify for the World Team Trials scheduled in June. O’Connor could have earned an automatic spot to the Team Trials with a win at Brockport’s Northeast regionals last weekend. O’Connor was unable to earn the victory, but he has another opportunity at the U.S. Open on April 7 in Cleveland. “I need to get more offense going and more freestyle experience under my belt,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor cut his teeth as a folkstyle wrestler, the most common form of wrestling for high school and collegiate athletes. Always a supreme technician, O’Connor’s penchant for holding down and breaking down opponents on the mat means little in freestyle. In freestyle wrestling, the aim isn’t to control a wrestler, but to execute moves that generate points, such as any type of back exposure. Also, unlike folkstyle wrestling matches where a wrestler accumulates points throughout a match, a freestyle match consists of three two-minute periods with each period a mini match. The first wrestler to win two periods wins the match.
“I have always been a slow starter, and I might be up 2-0 or tied after the first period,” O’Connor said. “I could rack up points in the second and third periods when I started to hit my stride. There’s no time to do that in freestyle. You have to go out guns blazing. If you drop that first period, all the other guy has to do is win a clinch in the second or third period. Even if you’re wrestling your best, the best guy doesn’t always win in freestyle. It’s been difficult (for me) to make the transition.”