NINETY SIX, SC – Jacob Callahan and Bailey Weighington took different paths to the state championship meet held in Lexington, S.C. Both found the same end result.
The duo was honored Tuesday night at Ninety Six High School after both captured individual South Carolina Middle School State Championships. While Callahan captured the state championship in the 104-pound class as a seventh grader, Weighington was a runner up in seventh grade, prior to winning it all in the 210-pound weight class as an eighth grader.
“I just had to clear my head after last year,” Weighington said. “I got so close last year and just had to work harder this year.”
Callahan is no stranger to success. In six years of wrestling experience, Callahan has already won two national tournaments and has been named an All-American multiple times. His state championship win as a seventh grader was the first state championship of his promising career. Throughout the entire tournament, he surrendered just two points against him, using a pin to capture the state championship.
“I was expecting to do well,” Callahan said. “But to win the state championship was definitely a surprise.”
The duo both felt that their victories served as hard work fulfilled.
“It was great to have another teammate win it with me,” Weighington said. “We both worked hard and so it was good to have someone there with me winning it.”
As a team, the Ninety Six Middle School Wildcats finished 10th. What makes Callahan and Weighington’s accomplishment so impressive is that they competed against fellow wrestlers from all classifications.
“There were over 100 kids in each weight class throughout this whole process,” Ninety Six Middle School Head Coach Ross Doolittle said when addressing everyone in attendance. “They beat out kids from all classifications, 1A through 4A. They loss one time between them the entire season, so for them to accomplish what they did, I am very proud of them.”
As they reflected on their performance at the state championship, Callahan explained that being able to experience that atmosphere with a fellow teammate was a remarkable experience.
“We both worked hard,” Callahan said. “For both of us to win, and be there together was really cool.”