Nolan O'Rourke captures U.S. wrestling title

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Nolan O'Rourke captures U.S. wrestling title

Nolan O'Rourke captures U.S. wrestling title

Nolan O'Rourke still has to explain his weekends don't include getting hit over the head with fold-up chairs or being chased around the ring by someone wearing spandex in kabuki makeup.  

"It's like,'is it the WWE stuff?' It's like 'no it's kinda like the Olympic stuff,'" O'Rourke patiently tells people who find out his chosen sport is wrestling.   

At 13, Stanhope's O'Rourke has the next five years planned out, and it includes a lot of time in the gym and on the wrestling mat where he's quickly making a name for himself, and carving out some P.E.I. sports history.  

"No one has ever medalled at Canada Games for P.E.I. and when I go to Canada Games I'll be 18. So it would be really nice to medal there."      

After spending time in karate, O'Rourke found the sport of competitive wrestling that he had seen in the Olympics and was soon hooked. 

"There isn't really another sport like it, you have to get all the techniques right, you need perfect timing, speed, strength, you to be smart," said O'Rourke.   

His success has taken him halfway across Canada and into the United States, where last weekend he won the Maine State Championship in his division.

"I get to train with a lot of guys that are older than me so they are more experienced and better," said O'Rourke. 

He has the advantage at this early stage of his career to head to places like Montreal to train.

Growing into the sport

"In Nolan's case he's really lean, he moves very well," said his strength coach Kris MacPhee. "Dealing with those older wrestlers or perhaps those who have a slight size or strength advantage, and I think that he has identified that as a gap he would like to close."   

Prince Edward Island has had some success in wrestling on the national stage, mostly with female wrestlers.

In the last eight years we've had six or eight kids that have gone on to do quite well," said Glen Flood of Wrestling PEI. "The sky is the limit right now."

O'Rourke isn't only looking to break the Island's medal drought at the Canada Games, he sees wrestling as a way to further his education too.

"I really want to go to university and train," said the young wrestler, "you get a lot of training time and when you see people when they go to university they come back they're just so much better."

O'Rourke's next competition is the Canada East Wrestling Festival being held in Moncton in early May.

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