After George Tarwo won his third straight Meet of Champions title on Feb. 25, Concord Coach Ham Munnell was asked if Tarwo was even better this year than he was during his last two championship campaigns.
“We’ll see how he does in New Englands,” Munnell said.
Tarwo hadn’t even placed in the top six of his weight class during his previous two trips to the New England championships. This time around, however, the Crimson Tide senior won the 182-pound title, becoming just the fourth wrestler in Concord High history to win a New England championship. Tarwo beat Ryan Fredette from Winslow, Maine, in the final, 8-6, a win that was later voted as the match of the day.
The regional crown caps an incredible career for Tarwo. He was a Division I runner-up as a sophomore, losing a 3-2 decision to Timberlane’s Brian Lonergan in the final. But Tarwo bounced back the next week and beat Lonergan, 3-1, to claim the MOC title.
There were no near misses for Tarwo the next year. He beat Timberlane’s Jacob Post in the D-I final, 7-3, helping the Tide to a second-place team finish. Tarwo added the 2016 MOC 182 title the next week when he beat Merrimack’s Mitchell McMahon, 3-2, after hitting a shot on the edge of the circle with just 15 seconds left in the match.
This season, Tarwo was undefeated against New Hampshire wrestlers, lost just one match all season and rolled through both the D-I and MOC tournaments. He used a first-period pin and a 13-3 major decision to reach the D-I final, where he beat Pinkerton Academy’s Sterling McLaughlin, 9-2. At the MOC, a first-period pin and a 7-3 decision brought him to the finals, where he beat Plymouth’s Garrett Macedonia, the two-time D-III champ, 13-1.
It seemed clear after that performance that Tarwo had, indeed, improved on the mat as a senior, and he left no doubt about it with the win at New Englands. But he also improved off the mat this season.
“Being a leader this year was great. I learned to push people along gently and keep an eye on them at the same time,” Tarwo said. “And being a leader has improved me as a person. I talk to my teammates more and we were able to accomplish goals together.”
Just ask Concord sophomore Noah Giffard, who finished third at 195 at the MOC.
“I wouldn’t have placed third if I didn’t have George for a wrestling partner. He pushed me every single day. He talked to me all the time,” Giffard said. “Out of anyone I could train with, he’s the best.”