Madison County’s Cody Bond ended his storied high school wrestling career Feb. 11 in Macon, falling by a razor-thin, 9-8 margin in the Class AAAA 138-lb. state championship to Jacob Marakis of Ridgeland High School.
Bond fell behind 6-0, then battled back and cut the deficit to one with seconds remaining, but he ran out of time. The close loss was a heartbreaker.
So how did Bond react?
“He wanted to come in today (Monday) and get back to work,” said coach Richie Houston, who told the senior star wrestler to take a day off to rest.
Bond said the loss was definitely disappointing, but he said there’s plenty of work to do.
“It wasn’t really the way I wanted it to end,” he said. “Obviously, I wanted to win another state championship, but I do have college to look forward to.”
He said he looks at the loss as an opportunity to get better.
“I sort of look at it as taking that loss and building on it and turning it into wins down the road,” said Bond.
While the high school season is over, Bond still has national high school wrestling tournaments ahead, where he’ll match up against state finalists and state champions from across the nation in late March. Bond is also hoping to get a college scholarship in wrestling and he’s still aiming to show coaches what he can do.
“I’m hoping to get a good scholarship from Appalachian State,” he said. “And for nationals, I hope I do real well, because I want that All-American status. That’s always been a goal of mine. So I want to complete that too.”
The All-American status would be one more bullet point in an already loaded wrestling resume.
The senior is a four-time Region 8-AAAA champion, a four-time state sectional champion, a three-time state finalist and a one-time state champion. His career record is 154-8 (46-2 this year.) He missed most of his junior season with a shoulder injury and finished third on the all-time school wins list behind Max Nash, who had 163 and Isaac Ruiz with 158. However, Bond has the highest all-time school winning percentage at 95.07 percent.
He is also the only wrestler in Georgia history to make the state finals in four different weight classes. Bond has wrestled for the championship in the 106, 113, 120 and 138-lb. weight classes, winning it his sophomore year at 113 lbs.
The Madison County wrestler tangled with heavier opponents this year, including his foe in the finals, who Houston said was cutting weight from 150 lbs. Houston said Bond was 129.6 lbs. the day before the team left for Macon for the state tournament. He weighed in at 132.9 lbs. in Macon, giving up several pounds to his 138-lb. opponents.
Bond said giving up weight to heavier opponents was hard.
“It was tough,” said Bond. “He (Marakis) was definitely weighing a lot more than me. The day before the state tournament, I weighed about 129. And I was giving up all that weight to every opponent I wrestled. I felt as strong as him. Obviously, he had more horsepower in his legs than I did. And that was it.”
Bond looks back on his grade school wrestling days and feels grateful for the help he’s received.
“I thank all the coaches who have helped me over the years, from the USA coaches, and especially Coach Houston being the biggest of them all,” said Bond. “He worked with me the most. He helps me with all my techniques, breaking everything down to the littlest detail and also keeping my mind right and staying confident when I wrestle.”
Houston said working with Bond has been a special experience.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to coach someone like that,” he said, noting that not every coach gets such a chance.
Houston said Bond works at wrestling with a rare passion.
“To be great at something, you can’t think like a normal person,” said Houston. “You have to have that thing that makes people think you’re sort of crazy. And he’s like that. His work ethic is just unbelievable. Most people would be licking their wounds after that (the championship loss), but he wanted to get back at it and work on the mats today (Monday). That draws college coaches to him. He doesn’t think like a normal person. You have to make it a lifestyle. You have to sleep right, eat right and work out like a madman.”
Of course, Bond wasn’t the only Red Raider to travel to Macon for the state tournament this past weekend. Heath Sexton, Cody Hawkes and Hamilton Cooper each won a match for Madison County. Houston said it was great to see those guys get the experience of wrestling before thousands of people on a 12-mat floor.
“Everyone won a match and we wanted them to go and be competitive and get used to that environment,” he said.