If you ask fourth year Industrial Design major and RIT wrestler Mike McInally about what it takes to compete at the highest level of Division III, he will tell you it’s not easy. Many have tried and failed. But not McInally. The 133-pounder has made it to the NCAA Championships three times, earning the title of runner-up twice — including this past season.
On Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12, McInally competed in the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships in Las Crosse, Wis. In the first round, McInally faced off against Johns Hopkins’ Paul Marcello, winning the match with an impressive final score of 9-3. Advancing to the quarterfinals for his weight class, McInally was pitted against Adam Sheley of Wisconsin-La Crosse, defeating Sheley by two points. The next morning, McInally faced a tough competitor, Centenary College of New Jersey’s William Livingston, who was previously undefeated. That is, until he went up against McInally, who came out of the match victorious with a final score of 4-1. Later that evening, McInally’s winning streak ended as he was defeated by Ithaca College’s Seth Ecker. Despite the loss, McInally made a strong showing, becoming the runner-up and earning his second All-American honor.
But as successful as he has been, McInally knows a little about what it’s like to struggle. Following a successful second season in 2008-2009, McInally missed most of the 2009-2010 season because of a neck injury. After consulting with a doctor, McInally was told he needed the surgery or he would never be able to wrestle again. “That wasn’t an option for me,” McInally said.
McInally finished the season at 37-4 overall, with a perfect 16-0 record in dual matches and four pins, six technical falls, and seven major decisions. But what lies ahead for McInally in his wrestling career? He plans on coaching, both for younger athletes as well as his former teammates. “I want to teach the younger ones how to prevent bad habits and show the older ones what they can avoid, tweaking their moves,” he said.