COLUMBUS — “That’s crazy!”
That was all CVCA coach Dave Bergen could say Saturday night as Brunswick resident Tyler Maclellan gave him a bear hug after capturing the 195-pound Division II state crown.
What else could the Bergen say? He watched his senior record the title-clinching takedown on Crestwood’s Kenny Jackson in the final seconds for the second straight week — this time for a state championship.
“That’s how he beat him in overtime last week — with that same shot,” Bergen said in reference to Maclellan’s 3-1 win in overtime for the Alliance District title. “We knew he had it in him. He knows how to hand fight, pulling the kid, and getting him tired because he’s a big, muscular kid.
“So we knew we were in good shape because he was getting him tired, and then he hits that shot.”
Trailing 2-1 late in regulation, Maclellan knew it was now or never. That’s when he decided to go for Jackson’s leg — like he did a week prior — with 14 seconds left and was able to execute the move and hold on.
“I felt he was tired, pushing into me, and my coaches were yelling high-leg attack, so I passed his arm and went for the leg and I got it,” he said. “I was lucky enough to finish it on the edge.
“I wasn’t really sure how much time was left. I knew there wasn’t too much, but I knew I still had time to take him down, so I just went after it.”
After opening the tournament with a major decision over Franklin’s Wyatt Hillard, Maclellan upset projected state champion Bailey Faust of Lexington 2-0 — avenging a loss to him earlier this season at the Medina Invitational Tournament — and followed with a 3-0 blanking of St. Paris Graham’s Josh Couchman.
“He’s a head-banger,” Bergen said. “He’s not a slickster that’s out here dazzling the crowd. He just grinds-it-out. It ain’t pretty, but it’s a win every time.”
As time expired Saturday, Maclellan let out a yell and ran around the edge of mat before running into the crowd to share a moment with family and friends seated in the lower section of Value City Arena.
After a dramatic weekend like that, who could blame him?
“I’ve worked my whole life for this,” Maclellan said. “This was like my dream, and honestly I never thought it was possible. But I worked hard this year and it paid off.
“I don’t know if it’s hit me yet or not, but it feels pretty good right now.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.