Prestigious Ironman will have Blair after all

Updated: December 4, 2013


By Rob Sherrill

An Ironman Invitational without Blair? Unthinkable

Blair Academy is one of the nation’s more respected high school programs. And because they operate outside the supervision of any state high school association, they’re one of the more disliked in some quarters. Everybody agrees, though, that the Bucs do it the right way.

Because one of those state high school associations — which has three of its state’s teams, all in WIN’s Top 25, participating in the tournament — raised an objection about their involvement in the tournament, though, Blair was inches close from not able to participate … just weeks before the tournament was supposed to convene Dec. 13-14.

According to sources, Walsh Jesuit was ordered by National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) officials to remove Blair from the field, and Walsh did so initially.

Can you imagine the Ironman being forced to soldier on without its top draw?

Fortunately, as Willie Saylor reported on last week, the dustup has been dusted up, and Blair will be heading to Cuyahoga Falls for the 19th time.

 OPRF, Marmion get off to great starts

Illinois’ top two 3A teams, Oak Park-River Forest and Aurora Marmion Academy, did exactly what you’d expect of highly-ranked teams in the season’s first week.

OPRF got off to a 5-0 start, with the highlights a 56-11 pounding of another top-10 team, Chicago St. Rita, and a Saturday quad sweep at Winnetka New Trier which included a 47-21 victory over the state’s top-ranked 1A team, Dakota. Dakota got a big win against the Huskies from junior state champion Carver James, who edged state placewinner Matt Rundell 7-6 at 152.

Marmion, meanwhile, edged Libertyville 241.5-233 to repeat as champion of the Barrington Tournament. Senior Anthony Bosco beat Fargo place-winners back-to-back to win at 113. He beat Travis Piotrowski of Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge 4-3 in the tie-breaker in the semifinals, avenging a loss in the third-place match at state last year, and went to overtime again in a 5-3 finals victory over Mike Cullen of Cary-Grove. It was the first career regular-season loss for Cullen, a junior.

Keystone State powerhouses to square off Saturday

The Wyoming Seminary Duals take place Saturday up in hard-coal country and the big attraction is the state’s top public-school team, Murrysville Franklin Regional.

Win or lose, both teams will be solidly within WIN’s Top 10 after the match concludes. Both teams have been fortified by transfers.

Junior Devin Brown, the AA state champion at 106 last year for Saegertown, has moved to suburban Pittsburgh to join his former workout partner, standout freshman Spencer Lee, at Franklin Regional.

Seminary, meanwhile, picked up a pair of transfers who were unbeaten state champions as freshmen in their respective states a year ago: double Cadet National champion Nick Reenan (152), who was 50-0 at Dallas (Texas) Highland Park, and Trent Olson (113), who was 39-0 at 11-time defending Wyoming state champion Gillette Campbell County.