Senior Austin O'Connor Beats #2 Nationally-Ranked Wrestler

By: John Nee '93

The St. Rita Wrestling season is underway with the Mustangs enjoying success after starting their season at home with a meet vs. Leo on Monday, Nov. 21.

St. Rita Wrestling Coach and Faculty Member Mike Boyd '01

This is an exciting year for St. Rita Wrestling as three-time defending Illinois state wrestling champion Austin O'Connor starts his senior year and new coach Mike Boyd '01 joins coach Dan Manzella '03 in leading the Wrestling Mustangs in preparation for competition on the mat. 

Recently, O’Connor took his show on the road as he traveled to Ames, Iowa, home of The Iowa State Cyclones, to wrestle in the Agony in Ames Showcase on October 29. The showcase attracts the best high school wrestlers from around the country to compete for national bragging rights.

St. Rita Wrestler Austin O'Connor

O’Connor, a University of North Carolina commit, battled Iowa St. commit and #2 nationally ranked Jarod Verkleeren from Pennsylvania in the 145 lbs. class.

The match was tight throughout, with Verkleeren holding a slim 2-1 lead as the third period began to wind down. O’Connor then scored a takedown with 30 seconds left in the match and held off the Iowa St. commit on his future home mat 3-2.

St. Rita's Austin O'Connor battles #2 nationally ranked Jarod Verkleeren

This season O’Connor will look to become only the 2nd wrestler in St. Rita history to win four individual state titles, joining former Mustang and Iowa St. standout Albert White.

The next home wrestling meet at St. Rita is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Mt. Carmel and Marion Catholic.