Not your typical freshman: Glendale’s Brock McMillen tops State Champ Beau Bayless

HERSHEY: Glendale freshman Brock McMillen isn’t in awe of the big PIAA Wrestling Championship stage at Hershey’s Giant Center.

The atmosphere. The crowd. The intensity. It’s something McMillen was prepared for in his first trip to Chocolate Town.

Of course, it helps that McMillen was at Cadet Nationals in Fargo, a similar tournament in stature and prestige.

That experience was evident in McMillen’s performance Friday night. He wasn’t overwhelmed by the venue or his opponent, Reynolds state champ Beau Bayless, and pulled off a 3-1 triumph in sudden victory to earn a spot in Saturday’s Class 2A 113-pound final.

“I give a lot of credit to Fargo,” McMillen said. “It’s a big stage, so after wrestling there and coming here … it’s still pretty exciting and intimidating, but I was ready for it.

“This is big, but I expect to be a state champ. I believe in my training, and I was working toward this the whole time.”

The two wrestlers traded escapes in the first six minutes of the match, but it seemed like McMillen was a little more active in the closing stages.

That seemed to drain Bayless. Then in sudden victory, McMillen scored on a go behind after getting his elbow free and secured the victory.

“I just believed in my training,” McMillen said. “I knew he gets tired, and I’m pretty good at pushing the pace. I think that’s why I won in the end.

“He didn’t want it to go to ride out and took a bad shot. I just countered. He had my elbow trapped, and I was able to get it out and go behind him.”

McMillen enters the finals with a pretty good resume. He is 41-3, ranked sixth in the state and now has a win over the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class.

But there will be no celebration. That would be premature. Especially considering he faces Mount Union’s Josh Boozel in the finals, a wrestler who has beaten him three times this season.

“I take one step at a time,” McMillen said. “I believe anyone can be beat at any time, so I take every match like a semifinal or finals match.

“I think I wrestled well the last two times [against Boozel]. I just came up losing. I have to push the pace more. He is a tough opponent, the toughest kid I’ve wrestled, and I just have to make some minor adjustments, and hopefully, I come back and win.”

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