The dream of one alumni is soon to be a reality.
Connor McMahon, a graduate from the class of 2012, will be competing in the NCAA Divison I Wrestling Championships March 19-21 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. McMahon wrestled four years at Stow, placing second at the OHSAA State Championship his senior year. McMahon’s high school success brought him to Southern Illinois University, a Divison I wrestling school located in Edwardsville, Illinois.
Wrestling at the 165 pound weight class his junior year, McMahon entered the Southern Conference Tournament with the fifth seed out of eight wrestlers. He was overlooked by many, as a fifth seed would certainly not be a favorable victor in the battle for a national championship spot. McMahon was out to make the best of his situation, knowing the odds were not likely, but still possible.
“Not being expected to beat anyone took a lot of pressure off of me. I knew the pressure was on the kids I was going against so I went out there with nothing to lose. I was able to wrestle to my capabilities,” McMahon said.
McMahon did not just reach his capabilities, he exceeded them.
A quick victory over the fourth seed from Tennessee Chattanooga started his run, followed by a win over the number one seed in the tournament from Appalachian State. Reaching the finals, McMahon wrestled the third seed out of Virginia Military Institute, winning the match 4-3 and claiming victory in the SoCon Tournament.
McMahon’s victories in the SoCon Tournament not only came against higher ranked seeds, but also were against wrestlers who had previously defeated him earlier in the year. Due to these circumstances, McMahon was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament along with a spot in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
McMahon plans to keep the same mentality he had in the conference tournament through his journey at nationals.
“I’m really just excited to be there. I had some success in high school but I’ve never achieved anything like this. Qualifying for nationals was a dream of mine and no matter what I do I’m going to be happy with the results,” McMahon said.
McMahon’s first match at the NCAA Championship will be early March 19, against the tournament’s number one seed, Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State.
McMahon said, “I plan on just going out there and giving anyone I wrestle the best match I’m capable of. If I win some matches, that’s just icing on the cake, and if I don’t, I still had a great season.”