FAIRBORN — Soft spoken and polite, Fairborn senior Gunnar Parr initially doesn’t appear like a mean person. But get him on a wrestling mat, and he’d rip your head off, if it meant a wrestling win.
He’s good natured and kind, and enjoys joking around with his teammates before practice. But when the headgear goes on and he’s on the mat, Parr becomes a different person.
“I think of myself as an aggressive wrestler,” Parr said moments before the team’s day-after-Christmas wrestling practice. “I like to get really mean, really physical. I enjoy being in control.”
The Skyhawk heavyweight has had his share of controlling high school wrestling matches. Last weekend, he became the first Fairborn wrestler in school history to win more than 100 matches. Currently 16-2 this season, Parr eclipsed the century mark while winning the Springfield Central Catholic Invitational. He now has 101 wins in his career.
He rattles off his goals as if they’re no big deal, like he’s almost embarrassed to have such lofty aspirations.
“Win districts … state … the GWOC … that’s about it, I guess,” he said.
Despite a severe hand injury, Parr managed to finish fifth in the Greater Western Ohio Conference tournament at 195 pounds last season. The injury kept him from advancing out of the districts, however. Now healthy and having moved up to the 285-pound/heavyweight category, he’s ready to make the most of his senior season.
Parr was an offensive tackle and a defensive end in football this past fall, drawing interest from the University of Iowa and several smaller schools. He says he likes both sports, but hasn’t made any decision on where he’ll go to college just yet.
“Gunnar’s been wrestling his whole life,” said Jon Parr. “He’s got a lot of the wrestling records (at Fairborn) already, but he hopes to beat his own single-season wins mark again this year.”
Parr is a four-time junior state wrestling qualifier. He set the Fairborn single-season record with 41 wins last season, and hopes to exceed that this time around. He leads a talented group of young Fairborn wrestlers into the thick of this season.
“We’re 6-2 in dual matches so far this season, and we finished second in our first tournament of the year (in the Bob Schwab Classic at Middletown Fenwick),” Jon Parr said.
Freshman A.J. Warner is a perfect 18-0 thus far in the 106-pound weight class. Sophomore Tyler Cutlip holds a 16-2 record in the 120-pound division; sophomore Dustin Bentley (145 pounds) and senior Johnny Chaney (132) are both 11-5 thus far; and senior Austin Bolden, a tri-captain along with Chaney and Parr, is 7-2 in the 220-pound class.
“Our goals are to fare well in the State Duals, and we think we can send at least four kids to the state tournament this year,” coach Parr said. “This team is ahead of where they were last season. We are making progress, and that’s always a good thing.”
Success breeds enthusiasm as well. Fairborn fielded a team of seven wrestlers last season. They have 32 on the varsity squad this time around, with Parr and a talented supporting cast of grapplers to lead the way.
The Fairborn varsity wrestling team will compete this weekend in the Tipp City Holiday tournament. Matches will start at 9 a.m., Saturday Dec. 28 at Tipp City Tippecanoe High School. The Skyhawks placed third in the team standings during last season’s tournament; Parr won the 195-pound weight class.