Thorpe’s Mordaunt creates his own legacy
The influences were all around him.
If Ethan Mordaunt ever needed motivation, he didn’t have to look far to find it.
As a freshman, Mordaunt watched as Kevan Gentile captured the first state title in Jim Thorpe history, and rewrote the school’s record book in the process.
But Mordaunt has also drawn inspiration from outside the program. He witnessed Northwestern’s Caleb Clymer cap his career with a state title, one year after Northern Lehigh’s Ryan Farber reached the final in Hershey.
Shaped by the past, Mordaunt’s predecessors have been vital to helping him carve his own path.
Mordaunt added to an already expansive legacy in his senior season, collecting his first district and regional titles, and qualifying for states for the second consecutive year.
His accolades unmatched, Mordaunt can now share another honor with some of the greats to come before him as the Times News/Lehigh Valley Health Network Wrestler of the Year.
“It means a lot,” Mordaunt said of the award. ”Three state finalists before me have received this award. Just to be up there with them, in this powerhouse of wrestling from this area, it’s a big honor.
“I always wanted to be a part of some of the best wrestlers in our school’s history. Our one coach told me our sophomore year he’s going to see me in the hall of fame here one day. And I just kind of bought into that. I want to thank my coaches a lot, because I wouldn’t be here today without them.”
Mordaunt’s rise has been steady. A regional qualifier as a sophomore, he was a district runner-up and took third at regionals in his junior season to advance to Hershey for the first time.
His swan song included a second straight Schuylkill League title and the 100th victory of his career, further cementing his place alongside Gentile as one of the school’s all-time greats.
“Our head coach, coach Albert, at his office over at the L.B. Morris, he has the two pictures of Kevan up and the articles, and the picture of me from my first all star appearance for the Times News,” said Mordaunt. “I knew I definitely wanted to be up there with Kevan.
“I didn’t try to focus on it too much. I just let my wrestling do the talking for me.”
And his actions spoke volumes.
Mordaunt overcame issues that plagued him early in his career – some that almost cut it short.
“My freshman year, we did this kind of gag gift thing at the end of the year,” Mordaunt recalled. “They got me a headgear with my name on it because after every match I lost, I’d always come off the mat and I’d throw it because I was upset with being embarrassed.
“My sophomore year, there was another incident where I stormed out of the gym. I almost got kicked off the team for that. But they let me back on; that was my final warning. And I think from there on out, I just kind of had tunnel vision. I just wanted to wrestle. It was upsetting if I lost. But I just kept going.”
An increased leadership role and guidance from some of the team’s upperclassmen at the time helped Mordaunt grow both on and off the mat.
That sense of direction was apparent this season, as the Olympians enjoyed great team success, reaching the second day of district duals with a healthier lineup.
“It’s not even really about me. It’s about our school, our team,” said Mordaunt. “We didn’t really have many wrestlers last year. We had eight kids, maybe. And this year we had 20 kids or more. Will Schwartz, Austin Williams and myself all kind of went out and brought some kids in that we thought could help.
“And just from winning only one to two duals my high school career as a team, to getting to the second day of district duals, it was definitely something that I’m proud of as a team, and I’m proud of my brothers that have stepped up to the plate.”
Mordaunt’s dedication to his team and himself has laid the groundwork for a program that has embraced its past - and made great strides toward strengthening its future.
“Anytime you can have one of the wrestlers set the bar within the program, it’s very important,” said Albert. “And I know that for Ethan, like many others, they look to Kevan’s accomplishments as a goal, to get there.
“And I’ve said this before, we want to set our goals extremely high, and Ethan did that. And I think if he doesn’t set that goal at being a state champion, or state placewinner, then he doesn’t get to states. He knows that in order to get to that level, it’s going to take a tremendous amount of work and commitment. He made sure he did that, and that’s why he got there.”
Now, Mordaunt is hoping to inspire the next generation of wrestlers to do the same.
“What we accomplished here is going to stick with me for a long time,” Mordaunt said. “And who knows. Maybe one day I’d like to come back here and coach. That would be huge just to come back and give back to the community that helped shape me into the man I’m going to become and who I am.”