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Burke County's Chris Washington fulfills promise

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WAYNESBORO, Ga. — Burke County’s Chris Washington thought this promise would end like the others — one that saw good effort but not a golden finish.

Burke County's Chris Washington won the Georgia AAA state title in  the 285-pound division this season.   TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Burke County's Chris Washington won the Georgia AAA state title in the 285-pound division this season.

Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong.

The Bears wrestler won the Class AAAA state title at 285 pounds during the state traditional meet this year to earn recognition as The Augusta Chronicle’s Wrestler of the Year.

“I thought I had lost at first,” Washing­ton said. “He blew the whistle, and it dawned on me: ‘I’ve been doing this for five years, and I have yet to win a championship. I’ve made (coach Johnny Castro) a promise every year, that I’ll win for him.’ I thought I had lost and was disappointed, but the ref raised my hand and I cried.”

Washington, a senior, defeated Steven Wallace, of Marist, with a 7-5 decision.

Washington weighed only 235 pounds after he competed at 220 pounds the previous year. The change meant while he didn’t necessarily have the weight edge – “Them boys ain’t small!” he said about the 285 level with a laugh – he did have the quickness needed to win.

The wrestler, whose brother, Cornelius, was a senior on the University of Georgia football team last season, will attend the University of West Georgia for football. Washington was a linebacker for the Bears, who won a Class AAA state championship in 2011, and he used his participation in both football and wrestling to succeed.

In wrestling, balance and leverage are essential to win. On the gridiron, those areas help when he’s going downhill to make a tackle or to be strong in a stance.

The sports also helped him build endurance. All the work paid off when Washington won that state title in February.

The victory was for him and his coach – the unfulfilled promise – and it provided a moment that will never leave his memory.

“I made that promise a few years in a row, but we’d come short every year but this year,” Washington said. “That’s there forever. I was just amazed, in awe of what happened.”

ALL-AREA SERIES

TODAY: Wrestling

MONDAY: Swimming

TUESDAY: Independent girls basketball

WEDNESDAY: Independent boys basketball

THURSDAY: South Carolina girls basketball

FRIDAY: South Carolina boys basketball

SATURDAY: Georgia girls basketball

APRIL 14: Georgia boys basketball

ALL-AREA WRESTLING TEAM

106: Garrett Rundle, Westside

113: Jonathan London, Hephzibah

120: Jesse Maya, Grovetown

126: Davonte McNair, Burke County

132: Jemmario Jones, Glenn Hills

138: Kenya O’Neal, Hephzibah

145: Tavaris Holmes, Burke County

152: Travis Beatty, Richmond Academy

160: Chris Simon, Burke County

170: Javeon Brigham, Lakeside

182: Karl Harris,  Glenn Hills

195: LaRon Heath, Glenn Hills

220: Alex Hackney, Washington-Wilkes

285: Chris Washington, Burke County*

*state champion


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