Jan 10, 2013 (The Eagle-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
So far, Ryan O'Boyle has not missed a beat.
The McDaniel (Md.) College freshman from North Reading may have moved up a level, but his domination on the mat is nearly as complete as it was during his four years at Central Catholic, during which he won 177 matches and was a two-time New England champion.
With the new year hardly started, O'Boyle is already 16-3 and the No. 1-seeded 133-pounder in the Centennial Conference and eighth nationally in Division 3.
"I'm pretty excited with the way I'm wrestling," said O'Boyle. "It was a bit of an adjustment at first, but I'm feeling pretty confident now."
McDaniel coach Davey Blake couldn't be happier with O'Boyle's quick transition to college wrestling.
"Ryan is everything that you would want as a coach and as a freshman athlete," said Blake. "He has a strong work ethic, a natural feel for wrestling, has a kind and caring personality and is an excellent student (3.3 GPA).
"The best part about his wrestling is that he is already one of the top 133-pounders in the country, but he has not come close to reaching or maximizing his potential. That allows us to set lofty goals that are also realistic. We want (him) to be an NCAA Champion. That is the bottom line."
O'Boyle credits his quick adjustment to two factors.
"I think the big thing that helped me was all the offseason wrestling I did against great competition," he said. "I got a lot of close decisions in tough tournaments so I learned how to win the close ones. You're always going to have a lot of close matches in college."
O'Boyle also gives a lot of credit to older brother Mike, who was 23-9 as a freshman 125-pounder last year. He's back at 125 this year -- barely -- and has been Ryan's daily training partner, just as he was in youth wrestling years ago.
"It's been really good," said Ryan. "He has helped me a lot with what to expect and we go at it pretty good. We get mad at each other and there's always some (brother) tension, but it's been good."
Moreover, Ryan feels like he owes his brother, who is 9-1 thus far, with a debt of gratitude.
"It's been a hard cut (of weight) for him, mentally and physically," said Ryan, whose main goal as a freshman is to become a Division 3 All-American. "If it wasn't for me, he'd definitely be at 133 this year."
For that reason, although he could likely return to 133 next year, Ryan sees himself wrestling up a weight at 140.
"I don't want to see him (Mike) suffer any more," he said. "I won't have a problem moving up."
Blake believes that the brothers work well together, even when they act like typical brothers.
"The two of them ... push each other hard inside the room," said Blake. "They communicate more than any other group, always adjusting technique, finding new ways to get to their strong suits, and are constantly trying to find ways to make each other better.
"At times, we have to separate them if they get a little too intense during a drill or live session. But, its that fire between the two of them that is ultimately going to drive them to reach their goals. As coaches, we will try to stoke that fire and make sure it doesn't go out. They are both super-talented and have so much potential."
In fact, Blake is hoping that the O'Boyle brothers will form the nucleus for an upswing in McDaniel's program in the next few years. The "Green Terror" is currently 4-3 on the year and, with 10 freshmen on the 22-man squad, could be a force in the next year or two.
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