“The memories I made with the wrestling program will last a lifetime,” Patrick Wrona ’96 said. “From the road trips to the hotel stays to wrestling in Assembly Hall in Champaign…it was all a blast. They were some of the best times of my life.”
Patrick was a four-year varsity starter and letter winner. He won ten tournaments and clinched an East Suburban Catholic Conference title each season, too. He was only the third person in conference history at the time to accomplish that. He amassed a 124-38 career record, going 41-2 his senior year, culminating in a 1996 state wrestling championship at 135 pounds. He and his teammates were also four-time winners at the Mahomet Seymour Tournament and the Dvorak Invitational. “Wrestling on varsity as a freshman was a great experience, too. I was treated very well by the upper classmen and felt like a very welcomed little brother,” Patrick explained. “Although I only see or talk to them very rarely as life has taken us in different directions, I think very fondly of 1993 graduates Sean McEneaney, Mike Mishka, Pat Sise, Kevin Cremmins, and John Penkala.”
Patrick was not one for short cuts. “The lesson I learned very early from Coach Gervais was to continue working hard no matter how hard the obstacles were and no matter how discouraged you may get,” he explained. “I hate to say it, but fear was a great motivator too.” It pushed him to run the extra mile and push through the practice in order to succeed. Patrick appreciates the life lessons wrestling offered, such as thinking clearly under pressure. He also is thankful for the friendships made along the way. He doesn’t miss trying to cut weight.
Patrick also played baseball for Marist during his sophomore, junior, senior years.
After Marist, Patrick wrestled for one season at the University of Illinois at Champaign, sustaining a career ending vertebrae break. After college, he started a career in corporate sales, but found the restaurant industry calling him back. He had worked every position in restaurants-server, bar-back, bartender, etc.- and in 2013 opened his own restaurant, Compass Bar, Craft Beer & Woodfired Pizza in Lincoln Park. In 2016, he opened The Tankard in 2016. While wrestling may be done, Patrick is an avid golfer and has run 14 half marathons and two marathons.
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