HEADING into Saturday night, Dragon senior Cain Finch had already been part of three Jefferson state dual wrestling titles during the program’s illustrious run. But that didn’t mean there still wasn’t a little pre-championship nervousness.
“You get a little butterflies — still a little bit,” Finch said. “You’ve always got that little percent that something bad could happen.”
Not on this night.
Jefferson rolled to a 55-9 win over Lovett Saturday in the Class AA finals in Macon to claim an unprecedented 11th straight duals championship.
“I mean, it always feels good to win another one,” said Finch, who won his finals round match via pin. “But once you win the first six (matches), and you know you’ve just got it, it feels good.”
The Dragons dropped just two individual matches in the championship round as they cruised to yet another trophy.
“And the two we lost, we had a chance to win,” said coach Doug Thurmond, who picked up his 22nd state title overall between duals and traditional championships. “I’m very pleased with how they wrestled. Everybody went after their guy. They walked out on the mat to wrestle. They didn’t stall. They wrestled, and that’s been the way it was all weekend. So I’m really proud of that.”
Jefferson encountered little resistance from the Class AA field at the Macon Coliseum over the course of the two-day tournament, beating GAC (58-11), East Laurens (62-11) and Calhoun (2-8) before routing Lovett — an Atlanta private school out of Region 6 — in the finals. In the championship, the Dragons started fast, tallying pins in five of the first six matches. Isaac Kelly put an exclamation point on the win, earning a quick pin in the final match.
That’s not to say Thurmond felt relaxed during this latest championship quest.
“Hey, there’s drama, baby,” Thurmond said. “Don’t worry. There’s always drama … You just don’t ever know what’s going to go on. You don’t ever know what’s going to happen.”
By the same token, the elation doesn’t subside after the task is met. Winning championships never gets old, Thumond said.
“Heck, no,” he said. “As I said, hey, man, if it did, I’m in the wrong business. They’ve set the record right now and they keep adding to it, and I’m going to hold on for the ride. It will get broken at some point but it didn’t tonight (Saturday). So this is great. We’re going to celebrate it and enjoy it.”
Of course, Jefferson still has unfinished business. It will aim for its 12th-straight traditional championship and 16th traditional crown overall in February. That would give the Dragons 27 state titles overall if it happens.
And this Jefferson team — despite all the program’s success — still feels it has milestones to establish.
“We’re going to try to break the (individual) state champions record,” Finch said. “The most is seven. We’re going to try to get eight.”