Sometimes, the stories write themselves
CVCA's Tyler MacLellan proved it last night
MacLellan won the Division II state wrestling championship last night at 195 pounds, capping off a run in the state tournament where he was at his best when it counted the most.
Despite being one of four number one seeds going into the tournament, his draw wasn't the most favorable after the first round.
One match at a time....Tyler MacLellan
First Round....MacLellan's first round match had him go up against Wyatt Hilliard of Franklin. Hilliard is a freshman with potential, but this is the state tournament. MacLellan was in control from the outset, dominating from start to finish and posting a 15-3 major decision.
Bring on the Big Boys
Quarterfinal....Things got difficult in a hurry in his next match. MacLellan would be matched against Bailey Faust of Lexington. The same Bailey Faust with a 50-1 record on the year, and the same Bailey Faust that pinned MacLellan earlier in the year at the Medina Invitational.
MacLellan scored an early takedown, and he made it stand up in posting a 2-0 victory, sending him off to the semi-finals.
In a quote to Cleveland.com, MacLellan explained the difference in facing Faust a second time:
I knew he was good in the upper body, and good with his throws, which is what he caught me with at Medina. I just tried to keep my hips as far away from him as possible, and it worked....Tyler MacLellan
One dragon slayed
The worst nerves I've ever had! I could only imagine what Ty was feeling.....Carrie MacLellan, Tyler's mother
Fortunately or unfortunately, the nerves had a chance to get worse
Semi-Finals....The semi-final match up for MacLellan was interesting because of the mind game it could potentially play on him. Josh Couchman is a good wrestler with a 35-9 record. Josh Couchman also comes from the best wrestling program in the state of Ohio:
St. Paris Graham
Graham would run away with the team title, and actually had its sights set on a state record for points in the tournament. To do that, they would need Couchman to come through in his match against MacLellan. So, would MacLellan be more concerned about WHAT he was wrestling against, as opposed to WHO he was wrestling?
MacLellan would score early, and make it stand up as he shut out his second straight quality opponent, this time by a 3-0 score. One thing was becoming clear: MacLellan was solid, didn't make mistakes, and was difficult to score on.
Two dragons slayed
Championship Match....The final match, for the state championship, would provide a familiar foe. The good news was that MacLellan had wrestled him before. The bad news, in a way, was that when they met just a week ago in the district final at Alliance, it was an overtime takedown that gave MacLellan a 3-1 victory
Beating Crestwood's Kenny Jackson would not be easy
Crestwood is another up and coming program under head coach Dave Wrobel. They are making a name for themselves in the Cleveland area, and Jackson's rise is along side Crestwood's rise as a program. Despite not wrestling until the eighth grade, Jackson may have been the hottest wrestler in the weight class coming into the final, putting together 7-3, 9-4, and 5-3 wins, with two of those wins coming against higher seeded wrestlers.
It was a classic final
Jackson took a 1-0 lead into the third period. MacLellan escaped to tie it at one point a piece. With 15 seconds left in the match, MacLellan was able to grab Jackson's leg and take him down just inside the edge of the mat, taking a 3-1 lead. MacLellan would let Jackson escape, cutting the lead to 3-2, then hung on the final 10 seconds, and securing himself a state championship.
MacLellan's win gave CVCA a state champion wrestler in each of the last six seasons.
How dominant was MacLellan? He won his four matches, including his last three against high quality opposition, by a combined score of 21-5.
In a quote to Cleveland.com, MacLellan summed up his performance in reaching his goal of a state championship:
This has been my dream. My whole family's here and I didn't want to let them down. I did it for my coaches, my school and my family, most of all for God. It just feels good....Tyler MacLellan
I bet it does
What this championship shows is that if you work hard, believe in yourself, and truly BELIEVE you can win, you can. If you can grind out match after match, eventually great things will happen
Tyler MacLellan proved that point this weekend