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Silent ovation - McGill's fourth 2A-1A West title unnoticed

March 01, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

CUMBERLAND, Md. - Somewhere along the way, the Mike McGill Fan Club missed the memo titled, "How to Celebrate."

Either that, or it has bigger and better plans in mind.

For whatever reason, there was something surreal about the moment that Williamsport's ultra-driven 145-pound wrestler etched his name in the Maryland 2A-1A West Region wrestling history book on Saturday at Fort Hill High School.

McGill finished one of his major goals in methodical fashion. He dominated South Carroll's Tyler Mullen 19-1 in the championship match to become the first wrestler to ever win four straight West Region championships.

But when he stuck the final point and got his hand raised in victory, he was greeted with a strange ovation.

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Silence.

In fact, a chorus of crickets and the Fort Hill chess club rally probably would have drowned out the enthusiasm.

"I guess it's because a lot of people just expected it," said Williamsport coach Mike Rechtorovic. "He didn't expect anything. That's how and why he is so good."

McGill remained in his world of focus after winning the title. After raising his arm in victory, there was an uneasy smile. One of his supporters ran up wearing a sandwich board made out of two signs that read "McGill 4X Regional Champion," which drew a little emotion.

"He's got sisters who love him a lot," Rechtorovic said of the signage.

Still, the demonstration resembled a card girl showing the rounds at a boxing match. The accomplishment was largely lost on the crowd, which missed it partially because championship matches were being contested on two mats to save time.

The lack of pomp and circumstance didn't seem to bother McGill. In fact, he probably would have rather had it that way.

"We are out here (in Cumberland), not in Washington County," McGill said in muffled tones. "We have some people from Washington County here, but here (what I did) doesn't mean as much.

"It's pretty exciting. I don't think anyone has done it before. It's a testament of how tough this region is."

No matter how historic the title was, McGill did not act like he was going to let it get ahead of his ultimate objective.

"The next step is bigger. It's what I have been thinking about all along," McGill said about this week's state tournament at the University of Maryland's Cole Field House. "I've got one (state title), now I want two. The states will be tough."

But McGill's regional-championship feat wasn't lost on his coach.

"He's the first and only four-time regional champion," Rechtorovic said. "This is one of the toughest regions and he's done it starting at 103 and going to 145. He hasn't been just keeping in consecutive weight classes. He's been moving up."

Still, the state title is what McGill is focused on.

"I got to wrestle one match at a time," he said. "This is a big stepping stone but I have to keep going out there and doing the job. Every point counts. When I go out there, first I wrestle for myself because it's a pride thing. Second is for the school to make sure I make myself look classy and the program look classy. And third, I'm out to represent Washington County to show how tough of a region it is."

And if Mike McGill follows through, the real celebration will begin.

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