Troy Christian’s Connor Havill wins state title; Shaffer, Kennedy take seventh


COLUMBUS — Troy Christian 175-pound junior Connor Havill knew it as soon as the first takedown.

Havill (26-3) was wrestling C.J. Smith (54-2) of Marion Pleasant in the D-III state title match Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.

Havill dominated from the start in a 6-2 win over Smith.

And it started with an early takedown that led to a 5-0 lead he never relinquished.

“I was thinking I just won a state title,” Havill said about the opening takedown. “Then I heard the official say, two (points) green. Winning the state championship means everything to me. I give all the glory to God. I put all my faith and trust in God and my coaches and teammates.”

Troy Christian coach Steve Goudy was happy for Havill.

“He is a great kid,” Goudy said. “You can have the greatest game plan in the world, but it doesn’t matter if the wrestler doesn’t go out and execute it. And that’s what Connor did. He just executed the game plan. That was the difference.”

It is a much different feeling than Havill had at the end of last season when he finished seventh at state.

“I was really disappointed,” he said. “I went in there thinking I had a chance (to win the state title). It just let me know I wasn’t working hard enough.”

Goudy said last year was just a different year.

“It was kind of a funky year with Covid,” Goudy said. “We never got him enough tough matches to get him ready (for state). We didn’t get him enough matches to get into a good rhythm.”

Ironically, Havill was supposed to wrestle Smith for seventh place at 160 pounds a year ago, but Smith had injury defaulted that match.

“We had seen him once before,” Goudy said. “But, the kid had got a lot stronger.”

And Sunday continued a long history of success for the Eagles at state.

“We have another state champion,” Goudy said. “The tradition continues.”

Jason Shaffer (132) and Troy Kennedy (138) both finished seventh for the Eagles.

Not many kids are blessed to win their final match at state and even fewer are blessed to win the final match of their career at state.

Kennedy walked off the mat for the final time with his arm raised in victory as he defeated Andrew Sas of Mapleton by the score of 6-2. With the win, Kennedy finished in seventh place at 138 pounds. He finished his senior season with a 35-8 record and concludes his career as a two-time state placer after placing seventh in 2019 at 113 pounds.

Eagle junior 132 pounder Shaffer also took seventh place as he defeated Jeremiah McKee of Wellington 9-2. Shaffer, who finished his season with a 14-5 record, defeated two returning state placers on his way to earning the first state medal of his career.

“I know Troy (Kennedy) wanted to place higher as a senior, but he placed,” Goudy said. “So, did Jason (Shaffer) and we get him back. Kyle Schroer (106 pounds) had the toughest draw you could possibly have and he went out and wrestled his butt off. We get Connor (Havill), Jason and Kyle back and hopefully they can get some of the other kids excited.”

And continue the tradition of excellence at Troy Christian.

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