Published April 18. 2014 4:00AM Updated April 19. 2014 5:03PM
Devon MarcAurele's proudest moment as a Ledyard High School wrestler had nothing to do with an individual accomplishment.
His proudest individual accomplishment, ironically, had nothing to do with wrestling.
That's why "helping the team win three state titles," MarcAurele said without a hint of hesitation, trumped any of his individual success.
And that's why becoming a "Ledyard Scholar" for being ranked 10th in the Class of 2014 was bigger than any pinning combination he ever placed on an opponent because "academics are really what's going to get me somewhere in life."
Not that wrestling hasn't helped MarcAurele's maturation process.
"He's probably the most regimented kid I've ever seen," Ledyard coach Steve Bilheimer said. "His routine, the way he goes about doing everything from school work to getting enough sleep to the way he makes weight, it's a very exact process with Devon. It paid off and I couldn't be happier for him."
MarcAurele is close to committing to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he would continue his wrestling career at the Division III level while pursuing his dream to get a college degree at one of the nation's most prestigious engineering schools.
"I'm hoping it all works out," he said.
Until then, however, MarcAurele plans to enjoy the final months of his senior year, while reflecting on a wrestling season in which he went unbeaten until the State Open, won his second Class M title in three years, led the Colonels to their third straight state title and reached the State Open championship match for the first time in his career, losing to eventual New England champion Juan Garcia of Danbury 5-1 in the 170-pound title match.
He finished 45-2 this season (his second loss came in the New England quarterfinals), 95-11 in his career and has been named The Day's 2014 All-Area Wrestler of the Year.
"That was a big accomplishment for me," MarcAurele said of his runner-up finish in the Open. "It was the first time I had ever made it out of quarterfinals, so it was great to finally to be pressured and pushed. ... Almost all my matches were pins or forfeits, so it felt good to get a push to see exactly where I fall on the wrestling spectrum.
"I was really happy with my performance. Going up seven weight classes, I was a little bit small for my size, but I had a good season and was happy."
MarcAurele was the 106-pound Class M champ as a sophomore, when he arrived at Ledyard in midseason after transferring from The Pomfret School. He was the Class M runner-up at 120 his sophomore season before making a huge jump to 170 this season.
"The weight issue ... I know how much it was talked about," Bilheimer said. "But it's not like he was walking around at 120 (as a junior) all the time. In reality, he only gained about 20-30 pounds. I know everyone and their brother was asking, 'How come he's that much heavier?' But Devon handled that well, pushed it aside and really came into his own this year."
MarcAurele, whose father T.J. is one of the greatest high school wrestlers in Connecticut history, also embraced a leadership role for the first time.
"Leadership was a big thing for me going for a third title," he said. "We didn't have a weak team, but compared to the other two (state title) teams we were younger and they needed somebody to push them through the hard times. When you have a group of kids that follow you and is supportive of you, that helps my wrestling as well."