McCraw reaches 100-win milestone
Anticipation filled the gym Tuesday night at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy as their own Will McCraw (195 pounds) sat at 99 career wins going into the night's match with Madison.
However, at the end of the night, 99 wins became 100.
"It was a long road to get here," McCraw said after the match. "I was pretty nervous knowing it was coming up. I knew this would come one day but it's still unreal to have it happening here."
"It was very exciting. We made sure it would happen at home," said head coach Jamie Hicks. "It's something absolutely outstanding for this program to build on and move forward from."
After being recognized before the match as the first and only wrestler to be a part of the program throughout all four years of its existence, the match finally got under way. But everyone knew what the highlight of the night would be.
The anxious crowd waited through 12 matches before McCraw shed his hoodie, strapped on his headgear and ran onto the mat.
After one round where he came dangerously close to a pin on several occasions, he finally managed to hold down his Madison opponent long enough to earn the pin and his 100th career victory.
Fans and teammates shot confetti cannons into the air and it rained down as McCraw walked off the mats and into his father's arms.
The match was stopped as Hicks recognized the feat to the crowd.
The team match finished just on individual match later as the Gryphons fell to Madison 45-24.
Despite the team loss, the elation for McCraw and his accomplishment flooded from the stand as friends and family poured onto the floor to congratulate McCraw and capture the moment.
"A lot of my friends are in those stands and I know wrestling matches aren't the most fun things to watch sometimes but they're still here supporting me," McCraw said. "I just have great friends."
"I couldn't be any prouder of any kid anywhere," Hicks said of his senior superstar. "He's been the face of this program since it began. There's no one more deserving of this than him."
Now that the milestone has come and gone, Hicks and McCraw are both looking ahead.
"I'm glad it's over though," said Hicks. "We have tournaments coming up that could be even bigger and better than 100 wins."
"Conference Champion, Regional Champion and State Champion. Those are the three I want," McCraw added.