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Conestoga’s Hayden McLellan is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 5)

The senior captain has posted a 26-1 record this winter (as of Jan. 30), including 16 pins, three technical falls and four major decisions. He captured the Central League Tournament title at 172 pounds with a 17-4 victory in the championship finals. He is currently ranked No. 2 in all of District 1 (No. 1 for 3A schools). As a junior he compiled a 32-7 record, and finished first at Sections at 160 pounds. McLellan also has played football for the Pioneers, and was part of a state rugby championship team at Conestoga. Conestoga wrestling head coach Gary Baker said, “Hayden has been instrumental to our team’s success this year – not only because of his personal achievements but because he leads by example every day in practice. I believe Hayden has what it takes to go far in the PIAA state tournament and I truly believe he will be even better in college. I am also confident that one day in the future there will be kids responding ‘yes, Coach McLellan,’ as Hayden will pay his vast knowledge forward with the next generation.”


Q: What is your favorite memory of the Central League Tournament?


A: Well, it’s a tournament where you get to wrestle guys that you have seen all year in matches. So everyone has a chance to go back to the drawing board and try to fix what they did before. Before this year I had never won this tournament, so being able to go out for the final time and win in dominant fashion is my favorite memory.


Q: What do you consider your biggest strength on the mat and what you are working on most currently?


A: I would say that my biggest strength is my length, aggressiveness, and technique. I really work hard on trying to move my hands, feet, and my opponent so it keeps them on their toes so it’s easier to score.



Q: How do you view your role of leadership – on and off the mat – as a team captain?


A: I and our other captains really push our underclassmen to be better. I also try to wrestle everyone around my weight during practice to better them, because they are the future of our program.



Q: What do you think has been your best match of the season, and what was the biggest key(s) to your success in that match?


A: The best match of the season that I look back on is my only loss. It is to a kid I lost to before and is ranked pretty high in the state. I didn’t wrestle my best and it was still a very close match. Matches like that really motivate me to get back in the wrestling room and fix what I did wrong.


Q: What sparked your initial interest in wrestling, when did you start wrestling competitively? Who have been your biggest wrestling mentors, and what were the most important things you’ve learned from each of them?

A: I started wrestling in 7th grade and the interest sparked from competing in other martial arts my whole life. My brother and I were both national champions in jiu-jitsu and I think that the experience of that and training gave me the ability to excel in all aspects of wrestling very fast. I have always loved watching high level wrestling at college and high school and watching the guys that are multiple NCAA, world, and Olympic champs – they are my biggest mentors, especially seven-time world and Olympic champ Jordan Burroughs. I got to meet him and have a great conversation with him, which was awesome.

Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a wrestling match.


A: I always make sure that I get a good, long warm-up where I break a full sweat. I also make sure that I block out all outside distractions to make sure I can come out and wrestle aggressively and mean.



Q: What is your favorite academic course at Conestoga? What do you think you would like to major in at college? Is there a particular career field that interests you at the present time?


A: My favorite course that I take is Ancient World History. I really love learning about all the cultures and aspects of ancient civilizations across the world. But in college I intend to take entrepreneurship or finance because I would love to work for myself someday.


Fun facts – Hayden McLellan

Favorite TV show: The Boys.

Favorite movie: Fight Club.

Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning.

Favorite pre-meet pump-up song: Shotta Flow 6.

Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles.

Favorite place to visit: Costa Rica.

Favorite pre-meet meal: “A good ham and cheese or PB&J sandwich.”

Person I most admire, and why: “My dad because he’s my biggest role model and has made me the young man I am today.”

Family members: parents Andrew and Elizabeth, brother Andrew.


(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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