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2014-15 Register wrestler of the year: Liam Cronin, Servite
Last year, Servite’s Liam Cronin had the best and worst view of the action at the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
Because he didn’t qualify for the tournament, he spent the day as a runner for the team, taking bout sheets to and from the head table. The close-up view left him frustrated over being a spectator as his teammates competed.
Cronin didn’t want to be in that position again this season.
“That was one of the worst experiences,” he said. “I had put in a lot of hard work. Even though I was a newcomer to the sport, I expected more out of myself and my coaches did also. I knew I put in the work and time that I should have been at Masters.”
Fueled by that motivation, Cronin hit the mats this year was determined to make the most out of this season.
Now a junior, Cronin quickly worked his way to the top of the 106-pound weight class, finishing near the top at every tournament. He also became the program’s first state finalist. For his performance, Cronin is the Register’s Orange County wrestler of the year.
All-County wrestling team
“He’s self-motivated and he does all of the extra that you have to do to be a champion,” Servite coach Alan Clinton said. “He runs and lifts when he’s supposed to and when he’s not supposed to. He gets there early. He’s driven and he wants to be the best.
“He doesn’t like losing and he’s never satisfied. He’s humble and he knows that someone could come get you, so you better stay on your game.”
Cronin had one constant roadblock this year in St. John Bosco’s Cade Olivas. Cronin and Olivas met in the finals of the Cossarek Classic, Five Counties, Trinity League, CIF finals and the state tournament.
One tournament where he didn’t meet Olivas in the finals was Masters. Cronin lost in the semifinals, while Cronin finished third.
“My goal was to be in the finals of every tournament against Cade and try to beat him and learn as much as I could so when we got the state finals I could beat him,” Cronin said.
At the state tournament, Cronin advanced to the finals, but he was defeated by Olivas, 12-4.
Cronin said he knows there are lessons to be learned in defeat.
“I’m already planning on meeting him (in spring and summer tournaments), I want to see him as many times as I can,” Cronin said. “The first time I faced him he pinned me pretty fast. The next time he tech’d me (won by technical fall), the next time he pinned me, after a major. ... I kept getting closer and closer. Wrestling him will only help me get better.”
As for next year, Cronin said he wants to compete at “whatever weight Cade goes.”
“Obviously, I’m not going to go heavy,” Cronin said. “But I would like to go the weight he goes because he’s someone I would like to beat.”
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