BENSON — Momentousness of the accomplishment is slowly beginning to sink in for Clayson Goodwin, now one of two four-time Benson High School Arizona state wrestling champions
Goodwin grappled his way to the pinnacle, completing his Benson High School career with a 7-1 decision firmly in hand at the conclusion of the Division IV championship final match of the 220-pound weight class. The Feb. 15 victory in Prescott ensured the fourth title and cemented Clayson’s place in BHS Wrestling lore and history.
The crowning moment, admittedly was met with “a little bit of a relief… and a lot of happiness,” Clayson explained, recalling as the final championship seconds ticked off the clock. It was a culmination of a pressure-packed and relentless pursuit that started in earnest upon completion of his freshman year of competition.
“When I won my first one, that was my goal — to win all four,” he explained. “It felt good to finally do it... “There was pressure there, but I just had confidence and was hoping to come through.”
Clayson joins Alvaro Fenn [1973-76] as Benson High School’s only wrestlers to have completed the four-year sweep. It’s a feat that could likely not be replicated another 47 years, if ever. Although the deed is not entirely lost on the soft spoken 18-year-old, the totality of it all remains somewhat surreal. “It doesn’t quite feel real yet… It feels great to accomplish a goal like that; it was very challenging. I would never have been able to do it without the support from my great coaches and family,” he said.
Clayson started wrestling as a seventh-grader and said he quickly became enamored. Success was not far off with an Arizona Junior High School state championship earned as an eighth-grader in his second year wrestling competitively.
Like many wrestlers before him, he’s particularly fond of the grind and “… the competition and the feeling you get when you win,” He explained. “It’s just you out there on the mat… so it’s all up to you.”
Goodwin’s march to the title included wins by fall over Joey Wood (:45) of St. Johns, Jacob Roosevelt (1:17) of San Pasqual and J.P. McCall (1:46) of Round Valley in the semifinal. Goodwin finished the year 39-1 overall.
Clayson is unsure what lies ahead following graduation in May. He is mulling over some community college wrestling offers, one in state and another out of Ohio, with other offers likely to come.
Away from the mat, Clayson enjoys hunting and working on the family ranch with his dad. The eldest of three children, he is the son of Michelle and Marshall Goodwin.