In four years, St. Paul’s Eric Friedman has never lost a match in the MIS State Tournament.  Never.

That is why after his 4-2 decision over Matt Kelly of Good Counsel, Saturday, the senior Crusader, with his arm stretched high in victory, was announced as just the fourth wrestler in history to record four-straight MIS titles.

Joining the ranks of fellow four-time winners Mount St. Joe’s Mack Lewnes, DeMatha’s Mike Rowe and McDonogh’s Josh Fitch, Friedman was the ninth wrestlers in state history to reach the accomplishment between both private and public classifications.

“It is hard to pick our one title that was tougher than the others,” Friedman explained.  “Every year there are tough kids you have to work through, and some of those tough matches you win bigger than others.  You just have to make sure you do just enough to get it done.

“It is a shame that I couldn’t show a little more dominance during some of my matches, but I feel very fortunate and very proud to be where I am.”

Friedman won five times to claim his fourth title, posting two decisions, two major decisions and one fall in the 126-pound weightclass, though his biggest win might have come after fighting off his back in the semifinal round.

Trailing 6-2 in the third period, Archbishop Spalding’s Matt Pente slipped out of Friedman’s cradle and rolled directly into a half-nelson.  Cranking it into criteria for two near-fall points, the Cavalier tied the match, 6-6, though Friedman would escape and fend off the final takedown attempts.

“I felt him post, and I knew from experience I shouldn’t have gone for it, and he caught me in a half nelson,” Friedman remembered, being a mere inch from seeing his four-time dream shattered.  “I knew if I didn’t let myself get pinned, there would be enough time on the clock, and I would have enough time to escape and take him down if I needed to.

top“You always know anything can happen in a wrestling match, and there were some matches over the years that other people were very close to winning, but it isn’t about the number of times you come close as it is the number of times you end up on top.”

And he certainly has ended up on top more than not, having never lost a bout in the MIAA or MIS tournaments.  His next challenge: National Preps.

At National Preps, Friedman was in the finals as a freshman, taking second, and twice in the consolations finals, placing fourth and third in order.  Only a few months after his final high school match next weekend, he will take the short trip to Philadelphia, where he will start his college career with the University of Pennsylvania.

“I feel a little honored to attend the school.  Penn, it has great wrestling and is known for its academics,” Friedman said.  “Coach Eiter is a great coach, I’ve been working with and want to give a shout out to Matt Eveleth, he is a good guy, Charlie lynch is there…  I think it is going to be a lot of fun, eat cheesesteaks a lot and just having fun in Philadelphia.”

You can email CJ Malinowski at cj@varsitysportsnetwork.com, and follow him on twitter.