Alvontae Drummond is used to the spotlight. The McDaniel wrestler won an East Regional title and made consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
But as his senior season was winding down, Drummond was still looking for his first conference championship. Drummond finally achieved that elusive goal Feb. 11, when he won the Centennial Conference's 141-pound title.
Drummond's 13-3 major-decision against second-seeded Colin Devlin of Gettysburg in the 141-pound final completed a perfect day. Drummond earned his finals spot with a quarterfinal pin of Muhlenberg's Joshua Hickey and a 7-3 semifinal decision against Ursinus' Alfred Corradetti.
With his run to the 141-pound championship, Drummond picked up 15 of McDaniel's 30.5 total points at the Centennial meet, which was held at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. The Green Terror finished sixth among the eight teams.
"It was a long time coming," Drummond said. "This year, I was a little hungrier and wanted to prove that I was the best in the conference."
Drummond, who has compiled a sterling 80-23 career record at McDaniel, will compete in his final dual match when the Green Terror travel to eighth-ranked Messiah Feb. 15. Drummond began his 2016-17 season at the Messiah Invitational, where he swept three opponents to win the tournament's 141-pound crown.
Following the Messiah dual match, Drummond will prepare for the NCAA Division III East Regionals, which are scheduled for Feb. 24-25 at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Va. Drummond will be seeking his third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III national championship meet.
The McDaniel wrestling team has struggled during the 2016-17 season, falling to a 3-12 overall mark and going winless in seven Centennial Conference dual matches. But Drummond has continued to thrive. The Lincoln, Del., native is 21-1 this season with five pins. Drummond, whose only loss was a 2-0 defeat to Mount Union's Alec Cotton Dec. 3, 2016, is the nation's 10th-ranked Division III wrestler at 141 pounds, according to the Feb. 8
"I wrestled not to lose in a lot of my matches last year," Drummond said. "Now, I realize that there's nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I've been fine-tuning my technique, but the main difference is in knowing that I can dominate [my opponents]."
Drummond came to McDaniel after winning the 138-pound state championship as a senior at Milford High School. His transition from southern Delaware to the McDaniel campus in Westminster, Md., was aided by two former Green Terror wrestlers.
"I knew Trey Mitchell and Nick Cross, who both graduated in 2016," Drummond said. "I visited North Carolina State and Delaware Valley, but ultimately figured that McDaniel was the place for me."
During his sophomore year at McDaniel, Drummond advanced to the NCAA championship meet for the first time after recording a second-place regional finish. He won his first match before completing his initial NCAA appearance with consecutive losses.
During the 2015-16 campaign, Drummond won the 141-pound crown at the East Regionals. His second consecutive appearance at the national meet ended with two straight losses.
Drummond's near-perfect senior season was heavily influenced by former teammate Ryan O'Boyle, a two-time All-American at McDaniel.
"We were training partners for three years," Drummond said. "We molded each other. When we hit our slumps, we'd talk about the changes that we needed to make. Ryan just refused to lose, and this year I took that same attitude and just wrestled tough."
As he approaches his final East Regionals appearance, Drummond will carry that "refuse to lose" mentality with him.
"I've become a lot stronger and wiser as a wrestler," said Drummond, who will graduate in May with a degree in accounting. "I just have to make sure that I'm in the right mindset and stay healthy."