ASHEVILLE – Twice Conor Fenn’s seasons ended with losses in state-championship matches and he was named runner-up.
He didn’t let that happen this season.
“It was exciting because it was my last state tournament,” he said. “I was a little bit nervous.”
Those nerves didn’t transfer into anxious moments as the Asheville School senior pinned four opponents en route to the NCISAA 170-pound championship last weekend at Christ School.
Fenn, who has signed with Davidson College, finished the season with a 35-1 record and was named the state tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
The 6-foot-5 wrestler has used his height to his advantage in his three years at the school. The Cummings, Ga., native became a boarding student as a sophomore. His brother was also a student at the school and Fenn came because he wanted the academic challenge.
Opponents from another school nicknamed him “Human Backpack.”
“He just gets on you like a spider monkey and has his way with you,” Blues coach Lecky Haller said.
Fenn began wrestling in elementary school after a friend invited him to a practice and he soon joined clubs to continue his athletic education.
Now he helps others.
“He’s helpful to every wrestler, including guys he beats,” Haller said. “He digs the whole social scene and he’s all about the sport of wrestling and making it better. He has no agenda for his personal achievements.”
Those achievements are plentiful, though. He was taking part in the National Prep Wrestling Championship this weekend in Bethlehem, Pa., and is the second-ranked wrestler in his weight class.
Fenn’s lanky body might make it hard for opponents to understand his abilities.
“He’s kind of goofy-looking and doesn’t look like much of an athlete,” Haller said. “He’s really strong and wiry. His appearance belies his skill and his fire.
“Usually these guys in his weight class are in the 6-foot range or even shorter. You’d think it’d be easier to get a takedown with this big, long guy. Conor just has a way.”
Fenn said he didn’t wrestle anyone this year his height.
“It helps me gain leverage over my opponents and has helped me gain an unorthodox style,” said Fenn, who posted a 47-4 record as a junior. “I scramble a lot more than people are use to. I do funky things to use my flexibility to my advantage.”
Fenn signed to wrestle in college for Davidson back in November.