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The Severn family wrestling legacy still alive in Mid-Michigan

New Lothrop senior Cam Orr is shouldering the Severn legacy on the mat
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -Wrestling is one of the most grueling sports, from the training to the matches; everything about it is hard.

But, one Mid-Michigan family has turned it into a lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation.

In his final season at New Lothrop, Cam is looking for another state individual title after winning his first last year.

Barb Orr, Cam’s mom, reminisces about him winning the 215lb title at Ford Field, “I was probably the loudest cheering mom in that stands.”

Winning state titles for Orr isn’t an accomplishment, but a standard in his family.

“They left a huge legacy over there at Montrose as a nephew I feel I should carry that on at a different school,” said Cam.

To understand where Cam’s motivation comes from you have to go back to the mid-70s in Coldwater, Michigan, and 5 brothers on a farm: Dan, Dave, Mark, Mike, and Rod Severn.

“You kind of learned to wrestle for just survival,” said Dave, 1975 wrestling state champion.

“When you talk about it was fun. It was just a way of life,” said Mike, 1979 & 80.

From 1975-1983 the Severn Brothers won 10 state individual titles, and 5 team titles for Montrose, which is the greatest stretch by brothers in Michigan high school wrestling history.

It started with the two eldest, Dave and Da, who were the first set of brothers to win state titles in the same year in Michigan high school wrestling history.

“Dave would set the stage and I would try to top it,” said Dan.

“People used to always say we want to see Dave and Dan wrestle,” said Dave. “We kind of got this competition, well if you pin somebody this quick, I got to go a little quicker.”

Through their commitment and competition, Dave received a full-ride to wrestle at Arizona State University and Dan would set a national record for consecutive pins (112), won the World Junior title in 1977, and was a two-time national champion before joining his brother in Arizona.

While at ASU the Severn’s left another family legacy.

When he left the University, Dan held the record for most pins, career wins and was a two-time All-American.

And in his late 30s, “The Beast” made his debut in the UFC where became a Hall of Famer and the sports-only triple crown champion.

The other brothers would follow suet 4 of the 5 went to ASU, and the wealth and knowledge of wrestling were passed down to the next generation.

But, carrying the family could a back-breaking task.

“I kind of had a mental breakdown. I was talking to my mom and I said, ‘What if I lose?’ I have the name and legacy to live up to. Almost everyone has won two state championships,” said Dave Severn, state wrestling champion 2009 & 10.

“I just never felt a ton of pressure. I just worked hard in the rooms,” said Cam. “All the preparation before really makes me not nervous.”

Cam’s path is intertwined with his family’s legacy, but he’s blazing his own trail.

He’s already a two-time football state champion and committed to Ferris State to play on the gridiron.

“Cam’s last name is Orr, I don’t know if everybody knows he is a Severn,” said Barb. “I just think his drive comes from inside. He wants to go to a football program not just to play but to win.”

Just like the generations before him, Cam is passing down the knowledge to his little brother.

“These kids they put in the time,” Barb explains. “[Cam] and Grayson’s success is going to be because of the time they put in. Not because of the family bloodline they’re from.”

Cam “I’m just really blessed to have a family around me that really cares about me. I’m just trying to put my name out there as one of the greats to come through New Lothrop.”

Cam fell short of his goal of winning another state title but his name will live in the rafters of New Lothrop forever next to his family’s.

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