Brent Lorin is a subtle person.
To Craig Reddish, Lorin's wrestling coach at Bel Air High School, his quiet demeanor makes it easy for the 5-foot-4 junior to blend in with his teammates.
"If I lined up all the wrestlers on my team, I'm not sure you'd pick Brent out of the group as the two-time state champion -- even if you have a couple guesses -- because he doesn't jump out at you," Reddish said. "That all goes away when you watch him wrestle. He does a great job, and it becomes apparent how talented he is very quickly."
It also becomes obvious how adept Lorin is on the wrestling mat when you read his accomplishments. Lorin, who currently competes in the 120-pound division, hasn't just won two Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state championships, but he's also undefeated in high school competition.
He's also the first multi-time state champion Reddish has coached in his 25 years as head coach at Bel Air.
"Brent has tremendous balance, which makes him really tough for people to score on," Reddish said. "He's always in control during his matches and also has a tremendous work ethic. In practice, he goes full tilt. Brent isn't the type of kid who wrestles to get attention or glory. He does it because of this inner pride he has. It's great to watch."
As exceptional as Lorin has been, he entered the scene under the radar. While Lorin did wrestle before high school with Bel Air Junior Wrestling, he experienced more success in judo. Lorin started to compete in judo as a 7-year-old and won a United States Judo Association/United States Judo Federation national championship at 12 in 2013. He also finished second as a 14-year-old at the 2015 Presidents Cup.
For all his success in judo, Lorin wasn't sure how he'd fare on the high school wrestling mat.
"When I started in high school I had no idea where I would end up," Lorin said. "I just wanted to join the team and didn't even know if I would make varsity. It's a sport I really like, so I just went into it focused on getting better. I wasn't preoccupied with where I'd end up within the team."
Where he ended up was at the top of the podium at the 2016 MPSSAA 4A/3A state wrestling tournament. In the 106-pound class, Lorin beat Christian Balmoris from Springbrook High School by a 4-2 decision in the championship round.
"It's hard to describe what it's like to win a state championship, but the payoff of having to put all this work into something and then getting that much out of it makes you want to scream," Lorin said. "That payoff at the end of a long season means so much to you. It's really something special."
Lorin began his sophomore campaign competing in the 113-pound weight division with a target on his back. He continued to win, though, and capped off his second undefeated season by beating Parkdale High School's Axel Giron, 3-2, for the MPSSAA 4A/3A state title.
Lorin enters his junior year with 90 career wins in high school competition, which means he might have a shot at the public schools state record set by Joey Thomas of South Carroll.
Thomas, who graduated earlier this year, finished his career with 195 wins. Though Lorin would have to wrestle more matches than he has the past two seasons to surpass the record, he's actually had a better start to his career than Thomas, who lost four times during his freshman season.
To Lorin, breaking the record would be exciting, but it isn't something he's thinking about. He's more concerned with how he does against elite competition.
"I'm more focused on how I do in high-profile matches, like state championships," Lorin said. "If it's feasible for me to break the record it would be cool to do, but I just want to keep facing better wrestlers."
Lorin went outside the state during the offseason to compete against top wrestlers. He participated at the National High School Coaches Association Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va., where he finished with two wins and two losses.
He's also begun to think about where he'd like to compete collegiately. Lorin has excelled in the classroom, getting A's throughout high school and becoming a member of the National Honor Society. He has a 4.8 GPA for his junior year and will probably have the option of attending elite academic colleges.
Lorin has some time to make the decision, but whichever school he decides to attend, Reddish is confident both the professors and wrestling coaches will be ecstatic to have him.
"With Brent it'll come down to what he wants to pursue, though whatever he chooses to do, I have no doubt he'll be successful," Reddish said. "If he wants to wrestle at the Division I level, he can do it. If he wants to become a doctor, he can do that, too."
Issue 240: December 2017