He’s small, but no lightweight | TheUnion.com

He’s small, but no lightweight

Eileen JoycePatrick Cronan (in yellow headgear) works his way out of a pin by fellow sophomore Robert McDaniel during wrestling practice.
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Wrestling is a tough sport. The toughest around at the high school level. If it is not enough to have to deal with countless cross-faces and shoulders tested in ways that are downright painful to even watch, then there is the issue of weight.

Wrestlers may be tough, but they have to watch their calories, too. Stepping on a victory stand may be glorious, but stepping on even the smallest of scales can be downright treacherous to the toughest wrestler.

Unless you are Nevada Union’s Pat Cronan.

Cronan, a sophomore, wrestles at the lowest weight classification, 103 pounds, and does so without having to worry about whether he should risk having second helpings.

He weighs 88 pounds, yet has managed to crack the starting lineup of Nevada Union’s varsity lineup this year, wrestling against kids 15 pounds heavier than he.

A difference of 15 pounds may not seem much to larger folk like me or you, especially me, but percentage-wise it is a huge hill for someone of Cronan’s size to climb.

It is nothing that Cronan is not used to. Since the age of 5, when he was diagnosed with childhood diabetes, Cronan has had to go through rigors above and beyond what most of his peers have had to face.

When his mother, Jenni Crabb, worries about him going low while wrestling, she is not referring to her son attempting a single-leg takedown. She is worried the exertion might lead to a drop in his blood sugar that could cause him to black out.

Twice daily, he receives insulin shots to regulate his blood sugar levels, reason enough for him to avoid the rigors of extracurricular activities. But Cronan is not the type to look for easy excuses.

He has not let diabetes slow down his athletic interests at all. When Patrick was in middle school, a co-worker of Crabb’s suggested he give wrestling a go.

One of the draws of wrestling is that it accepts all comers, big and small. And with minor reservations, his mother passed along the invitation for him to check out the sport.

Cronan went to a varsity dual meet, liked what he saw, and decided to go out for the sport, starting with freestyle club wrestling and then on to middle school wrestling at Lyman Gilmore under the tutelage of Chuck Smith.

Cronan found the perfect fit.

After wrestling at the junior varsity level last year, Cronan has bobbed around the .500 mark with the varsity this season. NU coach Steve Pilcher said that of all his young but talented wrestlers, Cronan may in fact be one of the most advanced, technique-wise.

One has to admire the pounding Cronan endures, not only in matches, but in the practice room as well. His practice partner is Robert McDaniel, who wrestles at 112 now, but started the year at 120 pounds. But Cronan keeps working hard, even though at times it must feel like he is trying to move walls.

“It sometimes gets discouraging, but what can I do?” Cronan said. “I am 88 pounds, but I’ve got to deal with it.”

Cronan’s performance has not gone unnoticed by his teammates, who better than anyone can appreciate what it must be like to routinely wrestle against opponents 15 pounds heavier.

“I think if he weighed 103 pounds, he’d probably go to state this year,” freshman 125-pound wrestler Drew Maraglia said. “He is a total technician in everything he does. He practices everything until it is perfect. He is a very good wrestler.”

Vince Vosti is a sportswriter for The Union. E-mail him at

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