OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Mike McClure came to the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships with one thing in mind – to become an All American.
And since this was his last year on the Michigan State wrestling team, the pressure was on to get on to the podium.
McClure wrestled with determination, and when his weekend was done at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, it was mission accomplished, as
McClure secured his All American status with a fifth-place finish.
“It was great, I came in wanting to be an All American, and it is great to finally accomplish that goal,” McClure said. “It's great, it's hard to explain.”
McClure also had a great tournament, going 5-2 and taking seventh,
He started off winning his first two matches Thursday, before dropping a tough 4-1 loss to Nick Gwiazdowski in the quarterfinals.
That dropped him to the consolation bracket, where he went 3-1, including a 3-2 win over Big Ten rival and Indiana senior Adam Chalfant in the fifth-place match.
McClure is the Spartans' first All American since 2010 when Franklin Gomez accomplished the feat. And he is the first heavyweight All American at MSU since 1993 when Don Whipp earned All American status.
He finishes his senior year with a 32-9 record, and ends his career at MSU with 104 career wins, which ranks him 17th all time. He also finishes with 24 career pins, which is ninth all time.
But is his wrestling career over?
It may be at the amateur level, but not at the professional level.
Last year talent scouts from the WWE, the professional wrestling circuit, saw the muscular Spartan show off his athletic ability during match.
And it was believed that a representative was at this year's finals,
“They started looking at me last year,” McClure said. “I think it was the Reno Tournament last year when I hit a back flip off a single leg (against Oregon State heavyweight Chad Hanke) and got the takedown. That was something I practiced in high school with my brothers. It won me a match last year, so it was pretty sweet.
“And I’ve been a big fan,” he added. “I followed the WWE all my childhood. And now I find myself watching it. I think I have all the athletic ability that it takes to do it. I'm excited about the opportunity.”
If he is going to wrestle in the WWE, he will need to get into character.
Will he be a hero or villain?
“That's a tough question,” McClure laughed when he answered.
And what about a name – Spartacus?
“Yeah, maybe Spartacus,” McClure said.
PHOTO: Credit to Michigan State University Sports Information Department