WHEN the Georgia High School Sports Association introduced the state duals tournament to the wrestling season in 2002, Jefferson High School reigned at the top of Class A.
For seven years straight, the Dragons dominated the competition, taking home the Class A state duals championship every year. In 2009, the Dragons moved into Class AA, yet remained unchallenged as Jefferson brought home titles for five more consecutive years.
Last weekend marked Jefferson’s final state duals tournament in Class AA as the Dragons will move up to Class AAA next season.
Like clockwork, Jefferson battled through the competition in Macon on Friday and Saturday, and when all was said and done, the Dragons had earned their 13th consecutive state duals title.
Jefferson head coach Doug Thurmond said at the beginning of the season that he wanted his wrestlers to avoid a complacent attitude and to understand that a championship is not a given.
He was right.
The Dragons weren’t simply handed the championship trophy this season. They battled through several close matches to advance to the championship.
On Friday, Jefferson knocked off Pepperell 61-18 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinal the Dragons narrowly won a hard-fought bout with Toombs County 47-34 to advance to the championship round.
In the title bout on Saturday, the Dragons met Bremen, which had knocked off Social Circle 35-30 in the semifinals. Jefferson won the matchup 48-15, but Thurmond was quick to point out that the scores can be misleading.
“The scores don’t always emulate how close things really were,” said Thurmond. “There were a lot of single matches that we ended up winning. We had several tight matches, we just happened to win them.”
The streak of championship wins certainly doesn’t seem to make the Dragon wrestlers complacent. Instead, they see it as a motivator and a challenge.
Senior wrestler Jack Dollar has spent four years on the varsity squad and was intent on keeping the winning streak alive for his final duals.
“Really, no one wants to be the class to lose it,” said Dollar. “We wanted to keep it going for another year. We’ll see how we do in AAA next year.”
While this year’s senior Dragons wanted to keep their streak going, the Jefferson freshman class also felt the importance of continuing the winning tradition.
“I certainly didn’t want our freshman class to lose it for us,” said freshman wrestler Zack Boobas. “I just wanted us to get up as quick as we could and never look back from there.”
Boobas attributed much of the young Dragons’ success on the big stage to preparation by his coaches and the leadership of the senior class.
“I’m always comfortable with the way we’ve been trained. We’ve been working hard in here, and I know that we’ve been carrying on this tradition for a while,” said Boobas. “(The seniors) have been great. They’ve known from the start that we were going to be a good team and we’ve hit the ground running.”
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