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McGill wins state wrestling title

March 07, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

His last wrestling season ended about as unpleasantly at this one began for Williamsport High School junior Mike McGill.

But the suffering and disappointment only increase the value of his gold.

McGill, who has battled through two knee injuries in the last year, won the Class 2A-1A 135-pound title Saturday night at the 35th annual Maryland State Wrestling Tournament, topping Walkersville's Chad Cotterman 4-0 in the finals.

McGill is Washington County's first state wrestling champion since Williamsport's Matt Allen won at 189 pounds in 2002.

"Ever since I can remember, I wanted to win a state title," McGill said.

Last year at states, McGill, who was one of the top contenders for the 112-pound crown, dislocated his kneecap during a semifinal loss and was done for the tournament.

He dropped both of his consolation matches by default and placed sixth.

"Standing there watching guys get medals didn't feel good from the bottom of the podium," said McGill, who won the bronze medal at 103 pounds in 2002. "I had to sit around for six months after that, but as soon I could start doing stuff again, I was working out three times a day and it finally paid off."

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The payoff took some time.

"The dislocation ended up causing a hole in my femur," McGill said.

That sidelined him for nearly the first two months of this season, one that seemed in jeopardy of never happening.

"I was concerned a lot. I thought about it every day," McGill said. "I've wrestled forever, and not being able to wrestle didn't feel right."

He finally returned in mid-January. Saturday, he put the finishing touch on his 19-1 season.

"Take away a guy's knee and tell him he might not wrestle and that's a lot of motivation," Walkersville coach Scott McIntosh said.

Cotterman, who also lost to McGill in last weekend's West region final, never had much of a chance.

McGill scored the only takedown of the match 30 seconds into the first period for a 2-0 lead and never was threatened. He escaped for another point in the second period and rode out Cotterman, who gave away a point for stalling, in the third.

"We knew the match was going to be won on his feet," Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic said. "You get that first takedown and it puts the other guy in a hole. We knew that Mike could ride him."

Now, McGill can enjoy a break from the action on his own terms.

"I'm going to rest for a week, and then start getting ready for next year," McGill said.

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