As Westfields Connor Cawthon warmed up for his championship match in the 170-pound weight class at the GISA Class AAA tournament Saturday, he watched his older brother, Griffen, battle to a tough 3-1 win in the weight class right below him.
Connor Cawthon followed his brothers lead, thrashing defending state champion Eddie Howard from Bulloch 18-3. With those two wins, coupled with Josh Kinnebrews win at 113 and Walker Davisons win at 220 over Tattnall Squares Jonathan Ward, the Hornets held off Bulloch to win their second straight championship.
Westfield finished with 237.5 points to 232 for Bulloch.
Its amazing to watch him on the mat and win right before I wrestle, said Connor Cawthon, who is a year younger than Griffen. It makes me so hyper right before the match, and it gives me the confidence that I can do the same thing. Thats really how this entire team is. We just try to feed off each other.
Griffen Cawthon knew that his team was in quite a battle with Bulloch for the team title, and he had a purpose when he took the mat.
Well I pretty much knew I needed to win any way I could, he said with a smile. As a team, we knew we were a little behind going into the finals, so we had to get every win that we could. When I got ahead early, I just wanted to make sure that I didnt make a mistake. I would like to keep wrestling somewhere, but if this is my last match, well, I couldnt ask for any more than me and my brother and my team all winning state championships.
Bulloch outdistanced third-place Tattnall by 81 points.
I think it all started in 2008, when I became Westfields coach and Andy Tomlin arrived at Bulloch, Hornets head coach Mike Thompson said of the rivalry with Bulloch. We are good friends, but we dont like to lose, and for the last five years, it has pretty much been us or them. It really has turned into a great, friendly rivalry. I had no idea that the match was that close, but winning is a credit to these kids who devote themselves to the sport.
Tattnalls Aaron Hilliard was the only winner from a Bibb County program, capping an undefeated year with a pin over Mount de Sales Alex Mills, the third time he has pinned Mills this year.
He is a tough opponent, but I know if I do my job, I will be fine, Hilliard said. I finished fourth last year as a ninth-grader and decided that I wanted to really focus on the sport, and I am very happy for my improvement. We were all excited about our third-place finish overall, and I am excited that Tattnall is going to the GHSA because the competition will be so much greater.
Mount de Sales finished sixth led by Mills, who was the only Cavaliers wrestler to make it to the finals.