Konlin Weaver Lifts Camden County to 9th Straight Wrestling Title

Konlin Weaver Lifts Camden County to 9th Straight Wrestling Title

Junior’s Valiant Effort Gives Team Just Enough for Victory

Konlin Weaver is a two-time state champion for the powerful Camden County Wildcats wrestling team, having won his class in his freshman and sophomore years. Entering the GHSA Class 7A state wrestling championship earlier this year, the wrestler known as “Tank” helped lead his team to its ninth straight team championship, not by winning, but by pure grit.

With Weaver wrestling in the semifinals of the sectional tournament, and looking as if he was on a path to a third straight state championship, he suffered a debilitating ankle injury. Camden wrestling coach Jess Wilder says Weaver was mere minutes away from victory, but when he and his opponent stood up, the coach knew something was wrong.

“Konlin stood up and immediately collapsed to the mat,” Wilder recalls. “We called an injury timeout and I went over and started asking Konlin what was wrong, and he told me that he wasn’t sure. He thought it was his ankle.”

Weaver went back out to the mat, and almost immediately the Camden wrestling coach could tell his star wrestler was struggling.

“Konlin’s opponent started coming back, and you could tell Tank was doing all he could to hang on,” Wilder says.

The coach decided to use another injury timeout, and this time he wasn’t sure if Tank was going to be able to answer the bell.

“We have 90 seconds before an injury forfeit is called,” Wilder remembers, “and there was about one second left, and Konlin told me he thought he can make it through.”

Weaver toughed it out and won the match. But the coach and Weaver had a decision to make. There was still one match left, the final of the sectionals. Weaver decided to wrestle, but without any ability to push off with his injured ankle, he was no match for his healthy opponent. Weaver lost the match, but then yet another decision loomed: The state finals were a week away, and Wilder knew that if Weaver couldn’t go, his team had no chance to defeat Buford, their opponent in the 7A championship.

“It’s just too tight,” Wilder explains.

With the cumulative point total from each of the individual wrestlers making up the overall team score, that meant if Weaver couldn’t wrestle, win or lose, it would force the remaining Camden wrestlers to somehow capture enough points to defeat the mighty Wolves.

“It’s impossible,” Wilder explains. “They’re just too tough, and without Tank, we would not have a chance mathematically to win enough points to beat Buford.”

It was decision time. Wilder says he spoke with Konlin’s parents, Fred and Amanda Weaver, and after receiving assurances that the ankle wouldn’t suffer any further damage if their son tried to wrestle, they were OK with it.

But Wilder knew this would still be a long shot. Then again, the 157-pound Camden wrestler had always proved others wrong.

“When Konlin wrestled for the state championship as a freshman, no one thought he had a chance,” Wilder says. Weaver had not won a state title as an eighth grader, nor had he won a youth state title, so how could he come up and win a state championship in his first season as a varsity wrestler?

Weaver would indeed win the state championship as a ninth grader, and then again the following season, when he knocked off the defending state champion.

So, here he was, going for his third straight state championship with an ankle injury. Wilder knew it had to be bad.

“Konlin is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached,” Wilder says.

And the kid they call Tank proved it.

Faced with the decision of not wrestling and handing the state title to Buford, Weaver decided this was too important.

In the state finals, with his injured ankle heavily taped and wearing a brace, Weaver decided to give it a try.

Unable to push off, he still won his first match in overtime, but he lost his final match, finishing in second place.

While there would be no third straight state championship for Weaver, his gritty performance, limping through those final matches, would give his Camden wrestling team enough points to capture the overall state championship.

“One of the best individual efforts I’ve ever seen,” Wilder says.

That’s what champions do. That’s Konlin Weaver.

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