For the second year in a row, the McDowell Titans’ Toney McGee came as close as you possibly can to a state championship without winning one.
The Titans’ senior 126-pounder lost a stunning, 2-1 decision to Jaxon Maroney of Holly Springs in the State 4A finals Saturday at Greensboro Coliseum. Last year as a junior, McGee fell 5-4 to Hough senior Caleb Kreitter. McGee won the state championship over Kreitter as a sophomore.
Maroney, a sophomore, made a single two-point reversal stand up, thwarting several takedown attempts by McGee . Those two points were the only ones given up by McGee (57-1) in the entire tournament. McGee suffered cuts to his lip and mouth and he match was stopped for blood several times.
McGee, the school’s third state champion and the first underclassman to accomplish the feat, was trying to become McDowell’s first two-time winner. It would have been an especially noteworthy win, since the Titans’ longtime head coach Tim Hutchins is retiring.
“Not many athletes and coaches have the opportunity to go out like that, especially from here,” said Hutchins. “But to go out with somebody in the state finals was pretty special.”
The coach said Maroney (23-0) had a solid plan against McGee, who had won 57 in a row coming into the match.
“He had a good game plan on us,” said Hutchins. “He didn’t shoot, because Toney is a defensive wrestler, and he doesn’t shoot. He got two for a reversal, and that was it.
“This was a tough one because he (McGee) was so dominant coming into it. He (Maroney) squeaked by a couple of matches early, like Toney did when he was a sophomore. The match went by so fast – finals matches always do. I’m at a loss for words.”
Prior to Saturday’s finals, McGee looked invincible. He pinned Elijah Phillips of South Central in his first-round match Thursday evening. He advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals with a 15-0 technical fall over Strawn Wilson of High Point Central.
But like Kreitter a year ago, Maroney did just enough to get past the Titan standout.
Hutchins said despite the loss, McGee’s accomplishments won’t soon be equaled.
“What he’s done has been incredible,” said Hutchins. “It will be a long time before anybody does that here. He’s a three-time state finalist and lost twice by one point.”
His career stats are nothing short of amazing.
McGee finishes his high school career with a 201-14 all-time record, far and away the most wins in MHS history and the 14th highest total in the history of the state. His 57-1 mark this year ties him with Josh Dula – who, like McGee, was 57-1 his senior year, losing only in the state championship match – for the most in a season. He went 106-3 his final two years, with his only losses coming to Kreitter (in both the regional and state finals last season) and Maroney.
McGee is the school’s only three-time state finalist and the fourth three-time state qualifier. He won a West Regional championship this year and is a two-time conference champion, once in the Mountain Athletic 4A/3A and once in the Northwestern 3A/4A.
McDowell 120-pounder Alldyn Conley also qualified for the state championships. Conley lost a 7-4 decision to Aaron Wilkie of Holly Springs in the first round. In the consolation bracket, Conley was pinned by Darrin Akers of New Bern. He finishes the season 32-15.
Note: McDowell’s other state champions were Tyler Radford (2012) and Lynn Helms (1977). Radford went 54-0 to win the 220-pound title; Helms was 26-0 and won the championship at 128 pounds.