Friday Night Sports Hero: Talan McGill

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Talan McGill is a senior wrestler at St. Pat’s with a strong work ethic, and desire to always improve himself and his teammates.

Talan McGill spars with his brother Sawyer at a St. Pat's practice. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)

"He’s hard-working, he just never quits," said Justin Schroll, a teammate of McGill. "He's a really good teammate, and he's always there for us, cheering us on.”

St. Pat’s coach Kevin Wood has coached McGill for several years, and says he is one of the hardest working individuals on the team.

“He’s an outstanding individual, hard-working, honest, always doing the right thing at the right time, really a great kid," Wood said.

McGill started wrestling at a young age, but stopped for a few years, before starting again in middle school. His favorite part of wrestling is that it is a one-on-one sport, and he has no one to fall back on if his abilities fall short.

“There's nobody to blame but yourself, you're the only one out there. I think that’s the humbling aspect of it, because when you get beat, you get overpowered. I didn't enjoy that my freshman year, but leading up to my senior year, I've learned that it's something to be thankful for," McGill said.

As he has gotten older, McGill has been able to learn from his losses, and uses those lessons to improve over the course of his career.

"I can look to see where my abilities failed me. If I need better conditioning, better moves, strategies; whatever I need to beat that guy the next time or just beat somebody else with it," McGill said.

McGill did not qualify for the State meet his freshman year, but still made the trip to watch, which gave him an idea of what to expect when he did qualify his sophomore year.

"It's a big arena, but being on the floor makes it ten times bigger. I think that contributed to me going 0-2 my sophomore year, and my junior year being ready for that intensity," McGill said.

McGill lost his only two matches at State his sophomore year, but returned for his junior year, finishing in sixth place for a medal.

"Talan's sophomore year was a real learning experience for him, he got a real education down there. He was behind the eight ball a couple times his junior year, at the risk of being eliminated, and won a couple of matches against good kids, and ended up getting a medal," Wood said.

McGill faced elimination in four matches, winning three of those, including a win against Tyson McCurdy of Alma, who McGill had not defeated in multiple tries during the regular season.

"I didn't really think about it. I also knew it was going on, what the stakes were, but I just kind of told myself it's just another match," McGill said.

When he isn’t wrestling, McGill likes to lift weights and go hunting.

"Just being out there in nature, it's really fun. I get to bring some of my buddies, we just have a good time," McGill said.

McGill does not currently have specific plans for continuing his athletic and academic career, but he hopes to be given the opportunity to wrestle at the next level.