As the state wrestling championships get started up tomorrow in Columbus, the team titles are pretty much a forgone conclusion. Massillon Perry should win the Division I title, St. Paris Graham should win the Division II title, and Delta is the favorite in Division III. With the team races not being a story, the focus should turn to the individuals competing. There will be a Cleveland area wrestler, will local roots, that one should root for:
CVCA's Tyler MacLellan
People around the Cleveland area should remember Tyler's parents. His mother Carrie played basketball and volleyball at Brunswick in the late eighties, and went on to play two years of volleyball at Muskingum College. His father Jim was an All-Conference baseball player, also at Brunswick, who still holds the state record for hitting a home run in four consecutive at bats in one game ( I should know, I was on the opposing team ). So it would make perfect sense that a child coming from a family of athletes would play a sport growing up and in high school.
Bet you didn't think it would be wrestling now did you?
Tyler tried and played every sport as a child. Wrestling was a sport that has taught him far more than winning and losing. The time he has spent with the extra workouts, self discipline, dedication and work ethic has all transferred over to the classroom....Jim MacLellan
If one is going to wrestle, you can count on one hand the schools with better wrestling programs than Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (CVCA). They have a tradition as rich as any team in the state. Since 1990, the year wrestling started at the school, they have produced some outstanding results. They have crowned 18 state champions, 67 state placers, and 79 state qualifiers. It is the alma mater of maybe the most decorated high school wrestler that the Cleveland area has ever produced in Harry Lester, a four time state champion, and Olympic Bronze Medalist. Another four time state champion, Nathan Tomasello, finished his career at CVCA ranked as the best wrestler in the country at 120 pounds. Throw in two time state title winner John Weakley, and other state champions in Matt Meadows, Matt Smilek, and Alex Utley, it would seem that Tyler would have a lot to live up to.
I say he is doing just fine
Tyler takes a 35-5 record into this weekend's state tournament. Among his accomplishments this season are a Sectional and District championship, the winner of the Alliance Top Gun tournament, a second place finish at the Medina Invitational, and PAC-7 Conference champion. He is also a returning state qualifier, finishing eighth last season, a fact that he says will help him this weekend:
I am ready for whatever comes at me and I am going to take it one match at a time. Experiencing it last year makes this year a little easier just because I have been there before and I don't have the first time nerves!! There is still a lot of pressure and nerves that are going to come but it will definitely be easier....Tyler MacLellan
What separates Tyler from other wrestlers is his work ethic. He has gotten better every year, and just seems to outwork his opponents:
The sport is great because you can only rely on yourself for success if you put the time in you will be successful, he will carry this into all aspects of his life. I have never considered Tyler to be really good, but I have always known that Tyler will out work all his opponents on and off the mat. So if success is judged by hard work then Tyler is one of the best in the state....Jim MacLellan
Tyler is far from a one trick pony
He was also a first team all-conference, first team all-district, and honorable mention all-state selection in football for the Royals in the fall. Being the type of athlete that he is, it had to be a difficult choice to go to CVCA, and not Brunswick, where both his parents starred on the field.
The family decided on CVCA as it felt like home to Tyler first and foremost. The school is small so class sizes are small. The college prep school setting has challenged Tyler and prepared him for his next journey in college....Carrie MacLellan
There was one other aspect that the family thought was important, and it is one where no medals or trophies are handed to him. One that we should all do more than we do:
Also, the opportunity to serve was a major factor. As a freshman, he spent a week in Pennsylvania. The mission trip was called "The Pittsburgh Project". This past summer, he went on another mission trip with his senior class to the Dominican Republic. He was involved in construction improvements on village homes and interacting with the children. (There's a lot more but he always speaks of those two things). CVCA has instilled in Tyler to work hard and serve others in and out of the classroom....Carrie MacLellan
Pretty well rounded I would say
First things first, and that is this weekend and the state tournament. Being a district champion, Tyler is one of four top seeds in the 195 pound weight class, so he will wrestle a number four seed in Wyatt Hilliard of Franklin in the first round. If he wins, it would set up a quarterfinal match with Bailey Faust of Lexington, who beat Tyler earlier in the year. For now, Tyler is staying with the preparation and style that got him to this point, which is deflecting credit, and living in the moment:
I am ready for whatever comes at me and I am going to take it one match at a time. All my coaches are very helpful to me and help me be the best I can be. Also my drill partner Michael Meadows has really helped me the last four years and always pushes me. I am not looking to the semi finals at all right now because it is the state tournament and everyone is good and anything can happen. At this point in the season you have to take it one match at a time....Tyler MacLellan
So while the team races are pretty much a forgone conclusion, there are certain individuals you should keep your eye on. There also happens to be more to the identity of a person that just a won-loss record
CVCA's Tyler MacLellan is one you could root for