A No. 8 seed, McCloud used a dramatic late takedown to upset top-seeded Chris Lail of Kingsway, 4-3, in a 182-pound bout in the Region 8 quarterfinals before a near-capacity crowd at Egg Harbor Township.
McCloud, a senior who improved to 28-4, was one of 56 wrestlers to advance to Saturday morning's semifinals. The finals are set for Saturday night, with the top three finishers in each weight class advancing to the state championships March 2-4 in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
If McCloud can finish in the top three, he would become the first Lindenwold wrestler to compete in Atlantic City.
"That would be huge for our program," Lindenwold coach Ron DiMattia said.
Wrestling might not be McCloud's top sport. He also is a standout hurdler for the track team in the spring and a cross-country runner in the fall.
Cross-country in the fall, wrestling in the winter, hurdles on the track in the spring - that's not exactly a typical combination for a three-sport athlete.
"That's what everybody tells me," McCloud said with a smile. "The cross-country is just good for conditioning. I love track. But I'm getting to really love wrestling.
"The other sports, you go to practice and run. I actually enjoy wrestling practice."
DiMattia said McCloud's success comes from his work ethic. McCloud is one of a small group of Lindenwold athletes who trains before school.
"Our first class is 7:30, and I usually am at the school by 5:30," McCloud said. "I only live down the street, so my mom drops me off. It's a great time to work out. You get a lot done, and then you have school."
DiMattia said McCloud sets an example for other Lindenwold wrestlers.
"He's everything you want in a wrestler," DiMattia said. "He comes in early, stays late, does whatever is asked of him."
McCloud's conditioning appeared to be a factor in his quarterfinal victory. He was fresh enough to rally from a 3-2 deficit with a takedown of Lail, the District 31 champion who entered the bout at 31-2, with around 27 seconds remaining in the third period.
"I knew I could get a shot in," McCloud said. "I knew he was the one seed and if I could beat him then maybe I couldn't be stopped."
McCloud will face fourth-seeded John Benard of Oakcrest in Saturday's semifinals. West Deptford's Rory Bonner and Hammonton's David Williams, who beat McCloud by a 10-6 score in the District 30 finals, are in the other semifinal.
"My AD [athletic director Derryk Sellers] was telling me all day that I can make it to Atlantic City and that I would be the first one from the school," McCloud said. "After winning this match, I think I can do it."
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, email@example.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports