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McCarty's focused on title

Phoenix wrestler is 24-1

PHOENIX — Tyler McCarty will never forget something he doesn't remember.

A concussion at the Class 3A state wrestling tournament two years ago left a 15-minute blank spot in McCarty's memory bank. He doesn't remember the tumble to the mat that triggered the trauma, nor does he recall the immediate aftermath.

What he does recollect is that he went home without a state championship, without a state placing and without any sense of accomplishment. After all, the concussion came during the first minute of his first match at Memorial Coliseum in Portland.

Rather than stress out over his star-crossed fate, McCarty has used it as a motivator. He soared to a 34-6 record and a runner-up finish at the state tournament last winter and has burst out of the blocks with a 24-1 mark and a No. — state ranking in this, his senior year.

I've worked harder and been more focused ever since (the concussion), says McCarty, who competes at 135 pounds. My goal last year was to win it all, and I didn't quite make it. This year I don't plan on falling short.

McCarty's only loss this season came in the finals of the Phoenix Invitational to Hayden Reece of Crook County, a Class 4A school. McCarty pinned all three of his opponents to win the Rogue Valley Classic at South Medford High on Jan. 6, and also claimed blue ribbons at the Coast Classic in North Bend and at the Arcata (Calif.) Invitational.

He's one of those guys who has been at it a long time and knows what he's doing on the mat, veteran Phoenix coach Harry Mondale says. He's an awfully good technician.

Once in a while he?ll get caught and thrown to the mat because he's so aggressive, but that hasn't happened very often lately.

McCarty first took up the sport as a seventh-grader at Talent Middle School. He advanced to the district finals, where he lost to Eagle Point's John Gallo.

He won a middle school district title as an eighth-grader, finished third at the Skyline Conference tournament as a freshman at Phoenix and has captured back-to-back Skyline crowns in the past two years.

McCarty played football and baseball in middle school but decided to focus on wrestling once he entered high school. He competes for Club West in the off-season.

I just didn't see myself going very far in the other sports, he says. And I really got into wrestling.

McCarty enjoys wrestling for Mondale, who has won 18 district titles and six state championships since taking over the Pirates? program in 1969.

Mondale also coached McCarty's father.

Harry yells a lot and works us to death, but we all know what he's trying to do — make us better wrestlers and better people, McCarty says. He's not a coach who hands out a bunch of compliments, but when he gives you one, you know you've earned it.

McCarty has to cut about a dozen pounds each week to make weight. There are times when his meal consists of a piece of lunch meat and a glass of water.

It's not fun, McCarty says of the weight-reducing process that 90 percent of wrestlers go through. You just get it in your head that you?re going to do it, and then you do it.

It's a discipline thing.

McCarty would like to land a wrestling scholarship and compete in college next year, but he also has his eyes on becoming a paramedic and firefighter.

I like a lot of action and excitement, he says.

He hopes to get plenty of both at the state tournament next month, as long as there are no crash landings.

McCarty's focused on title