Tuscola wrestling continues to improve

Feb. 13—Tuscola wrestling took another step forward in the growth of their program, competing at the 3A West Regionals over the weekend.

"From year one to year two, we've made strides in the right direction as far as getting the kids further in the regional tournament," Tuscola wrestling coach Houston McCracken said. "I would've liked to have sent one or two of them to state, but overall I'm very proud of the whole team."

While the team did not send any wrestlers to state, they did have a handful of guys right on the edge of qualifying.

Sophomore Aydan Mull was at the top of the list of near misses. Coming into the tournament with a record of 40-10, Mull was seeded No. 6.

The sophomore won his first match via fall before dropping his quarterfinal match. That didn't end his run, however. He earned victories via fall in the consolation second and third rounds, falling in the consolation semifinals, just one match from the state playoffs.

"It's a 16-man bracket and there's not an easy match," McCracken said. "Any given day you can walk out on the mat and get beat. This year it was more of a mindset than anything."

Sophomore Alexander Caldwell and junior Chase Hillis each finished just two matches short of state qualification, as well.

"It's a testament to my assistant coaches. It's a testament to the kids who were in the room this year continuing to work," McCracken said. "They worked really hard this year to improve our program."

The second-year coach said the progress his program has made showed a significant improvement over last year.

He said a large part of that was thanks to the help of not only his coaching staff, but also the parents who contribute their time to the team.

"This whole year doesn't happen without the support of my parents. They're the ones that got us to tournaments. They made this year so easy for me on the coaching side of things. I had to worry about coaching and that was it," McCracken said. "I've got the best staff. I've got the best parents. I couldn't be more thankful for them."