Murin, Oliver put stamps on careers

Mirror co-wrestlers of the year

They have two of the most dominating wrestlers in the state for four years, and Central Cambria’s Max Murin and Huntingdon’s Jacob Oliver turned it up a few notches this season.

Murin went 40-0, becoming the only area wrestler to finish undefeated, with 25 pins and eight technical falls, and he was voted the Outstanding Wrestler of the District 6 Class 2A Tournament and the PIAA Championships.

Oliver went 44-1, leading the area in wins, with 26 pins, sharing the area lead with Central’s Brock Biddle, and four technical falls. He’s the first Huntingdon wrestler to win two state titles.

They have been named the Mirror Wrestlers of the Year. It’s the second Wrestler of the Year for both. Oliver, an Edinboro recruit, was named last year’s top wrestlers, while Iowa recruit Murin shared Wrestler of the Year honors with Bedford’s Jonathan Gabriel in 2015.

“It’s awesome,” Murin said at a photo shoot for the Mirror all-stars on Thursday. “I’m extremely grateful for the honor. It’s a great accomplishment. It’s my second time in high school, and I’m really thankful.”

With their state titles, they both earned their fourth state medals. Both participated in the prestigious Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic with mixed results. Oliver beat Minnesota’s Jake Allar, 16-11, while Murin was spladled and pinned by four-time Oklahoma champ Tanner Litterell in 2:47.

“It means a lot to get to go and experience something like that,” Oliver said, “and it’s more experience.”

Murin breezed to the state finals with three pins, including a 21-second pin in the semifinals, and then he survived a 2-1 ultimate tiebreaker win over fellow 2015 state champion Cole Matthews of Reynolds. Murin escaped with 4 seconds left in regulation, and then he kicked out of Matthews’ grasp with 6 seconds left in the ultimate tiebreaker to win.

“I think I’ve watched it two or three times,” Murin said. “I’m not too sure how I pulled that one out. I got out, and the rest is history. I’m extremely proud of that match because I felt it took a lot of heart.”

Murin said the Ebensburg community held a parade for him after he won his state title.

“They support me a bunch,” he said. “They put up another billboard of me, and they had a parade for me on my way home. They had fire trucks and candy. They had everything, even the candy. It was really fun.”

While his experience in the Pittsburgh wrestling Classic wasn’t exactly the way he wanted to go out, Murin was happy with the way his senior season went.

“I feel my senior season was by far the best season I had in high school,” he said. “That’s competition-wise and the way I wrestled. I think I had (wrestled) three state runners-up and two other state champs. It was a great year wrestling, and I’m excited for the next stage in my career.”

Oliver had to battle through his shoulder injury in last year’s postseason before ultimately beating Westmont Hilltop’s Anthony Walters, 6-4, by hitting a spladle in overtime.

This year, though, after pinning his first two opponents edging Southern Columbia’s Gaige Garcia in the semifinals, he rolled to a 9-2 win over Susquenita’s Dalton Group after giving up the first takedown.

“There was a big difference between this year and last year,” Oliver said with my shoulder and everything. “I didn’t have much to worry about this year with my body as last year.”

“Jake is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had in the practice room,” Huntingdon coach Jon Mykut said. “It’s a sport where you get what you put into it. He certainly put a lot into it, and he deserves what he got there today and what he’s done his whole career.”

Murin is the school’s only four-time District 6 champion, four-time state placer and three-time finalist, including a runner-up finish last season, and four-time Southwest Regional champ. He finished his career with a program-best 155-5 record and 88 pins.

Oliver, who won three District 6 titles and claimed his first regional crown this season, finished with a 159-13 record, breaking former teammate Collin Glorioso’s mark of 158, and 69 pins, breaking Glorioso’s mark of 68.

“I didn’t think I could get that number,” Oliver said of the career wins, “but I got it. I got the pin record too for Huntingdon.”

Both will continue wrestling in national tournaments up until they go to college in August.

“I’m not too sure what the plan for me is out there,” Murin said. “But I’m super pumped, and I’m ready to get on the mat and have the (Tom and Terry) Brands and (Ryan) Morningstar and all of the other guys as my coaches. I’m just excited to start the next stage of my life.”