Quinn is a heavyweight among Liberty wrestlers Late walk-on fills unexpected hole for 3-2 Lions

January 08, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Pat Quinn didn't decide to come out for the Liberty wrestling team until a few hours before the first practice. The Lions are glad he came.

Quinn, a natural 189-pound wrestler, filled an unexpected hole at heavyweight. Quinn has won six of his first nine matches -- with five pins -- despite giving up 30 to 80 pounds and not wrestling last year.

Liberty coach Jeff Hash expected Thomas Rheubottom to wrestle at heavyweight this season. Rheubottom didn't come out for the team, however, and the Lions needed some help.

"I had no idea who was going to fill that spot," said Hash.

It wound up being the 6-foot Quinn, and it happened almost by accident. Quinn, a senior who didn't decide to go out for the team until lunch on the first day of practice, had to go up against Andy Sunell in the 189-pound wrestle-off before the team's opener against Hammond.

Hash decided the loser would be bumped up to heavyweight for the match. Quinn lost and faced an immediate problem in the form of the Golden Bears' Kwaime Crawford, who weighed in at 267. Quinn stepped on to the mat at 188.

And, with Liberty trailing 27-25 when it was time for the final match, the Lions appeared in trouble. It looked worse when Quinn fell behind 12-2 after one period. A penalty point made it 13-2 early in the second.

"I knew I was down by a lot," said Quinn. "I was trying to get some respect back. I saw my friends sitting there, cheering for me, and I guess the adrenalin started pumping."

Near the end of the period, on an optional start, Quinn tackled Crawford. The momentum kept them rolling with Quinn winding up on top. He slipped in a half-nelson and hung on for the pin at the 3:50 mark to give the Lions a victory.

That victory gave Quinn some confidence. The former Liberty linebacker has scored five pins, four in the first period against opponents from schools that pinned Liberty on the gridiron.

Quinn credits finesse for his success. When dueling with someone much heavier, he said, he tries to stay away and not lock up with them, just like a boxer who jabs and moves.

Quinn tries to tire out the often-heavier wrestler and make his move quickly when he sees an opening.

can't match strength with them," said Quinn. "I have the advantage with the speed and stamina."

The stamina may be his biggest advantage. Quinn, one of the top defensive players for Liberty's football team, is in excellent shape.

That, Hash said, and Quinn's strong will are the wrestler's biggest pluses.

"He's doing it by determination," said Hash. "He's got a very good attitude. He's very optimistic when he goes to matches."

Quinn has gained confidence from each victory. He wrestled on the junior varsity during his freshman and sophomore years and hovered around .500. Last year, he didn't go out for the team. This year has been a different story.

The story, however, has been even a little more different from what Quinn had thought. Quinn thought he would be competing at 189 pounds, fighting to lose 2 or 3 pounds most of the season.

Instead, he fights to gain weight. The lightest a heavyweight can be for a match is 188 pounds. Quinn, who normally weighs 185 pounds, has needed to do things such as drink a half-gallon of Gatorade to try to gain 3 pounds in a few hours.

But he is getting used to the idea of wrestling in the heavyweight class.

"I also, personally, think that heavyweight is an easier class than 189," said Quinn.

"Usually [in 189] you get guys who are built, have stamina and are conditioned well. In heavyweight, you get more of the overweight guys who sit on you and don't have stamina."

Quinn likes the tough side of life. He'll enter the Marines after graduation in the spring. He hopes to work for the FBI or the Secret Service. He'd love to protect the president, he said.

For the present, Quinn wants to use his situation to help Liberty (3-2) to a successful season.

"I have filled the hole at that spot," said Hash. "No question."

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