COLUMBUS – Connor Havill has been on a mission since coming up short of his goals a year ago – where he finished 7th at state in the 160 pound weight class.
And his mission is accomplished as Havill put forth a determined effort in a 6-2 win over C.J. Smith of Pleasant (54-3) to capture a state championship at 175 pounds on Sunday night.
“I was disappointed last year getting seventh,” Havill said after his big win in the finals. “I thought I had a chance last year to win state, but it didn’t happen. That was the motivator for me. It made me realize I wasn’t working hard enough.”
Last year Havill and Smith were slated to tussle for seventh place at 160 pounds, but Smith was forced to default the match.
In the finals, Havill, who improved his record to 27-3 on the season. waisted little time taking control with a first period takedown.
“When I got the first takedown, I thought I just won a state title,” Havill explained.
Leading 2-0 after one, Havill kept the pressure on and pushed his lead to 6-1 by the end of the second period thanks to another critical takedown.
From there the Troy Christian junior stayed solid and never gave Smith an opening to get back into the match.
“He executed the game plan,” said Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy. “You can have a great game plan, but if the kid doesn’t execute, it doesn’t matter.”
And as the clock ticked away, the emotion spilled out of Havill as he flexed for those who made the trek to Columbus to support him.
“Winning a state championship means everything,” he said. ““Putting my faith in God was the key.”
For Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy, seeing Havill on top of the podium was the reward for all of the hard work.
“He’s a great kid who worked really hard,” Goudy said. “The tradition continues with Troy Christian getting another state champion.”