This bittersweet adjective is one that MSU seniors have been using a lot lately when referring to the winter of their collegiate experience. The last semester, last class, last chance.
For Michigan State’s heavyweight, Mike McClure, his last season for MSU went out on a highlight. McClure finished the NCAA Championship with a fifth place finish and secured All-American honors over the weekend. McClure is the first Spartan All-American heavyweight since Don Whipp in 1993.
McClure was bestowed his All-American honors via a 10-2 victory over Ohio State’s Nick Tavanello. His second match against Austin Marsden of Oklahoma State was a much tighter affair, a 3-2 edging by McClure thanks to a third period takedown with 1:30 left in the match.
Then, it was on to the medal matches. Bobby Telford of Iowa defeated McClure 1-0 in the consolation semifinals.
In his final career match as a Spartan, McClure faced off against Indiana’s Adam Chalfant. Chalfant had defeated McClure twice this season and was looking for the sweep. McClure had other ideas.
After a scoreless first period, Chalfant got an escape to start the second, but McClure returned the favor in the third. The match looked like it was destined for overtime, but McClure caught Chalfant out of position for a takedown with 40 seconds left. Although Chalfant netted an escape to cut the lead to 3-2, McClure held on for the rest of the match to clinch fifth-place on the podium.
McClure finishes his season with a 32-9 record and closes his career ranked 17th all-time in Michigan State history with 104 career wins and ninth with 24 falls.
Head coach, Tom Minkel, seemed wistful on McClure’s last match.
“It’s always a bittersweet feeling,” Minkel said to msuspartans.com after seeing McClure’s collegiate wrestling career end Saturday. “You know how hard he’s worked to get here, how much of his time he dedicated to wrestling, Michigan State, and representing our institution with class.”
“In one way, you hate for it to end, because you know you won’t see him every day, like I’ve been able to do for the last five years,” Minkel said to msuspartans.com. “But at the same time, it’s the same feeling you have when your kids grow up, go to college and move on – you’re always part of their lives, and you know you played a role in their development, not only as an athlete, but as a person. I know he’ll make our program and Michigan State proud as he moves on with his life.”
Nick Carver is the host of Pinned Down for Impact Sports.
Photo: Jonathan Yales/Impact Sports