Dylan Fairchild hasn’t lost a wrestling match since his sophomore season.
Coincidentally, it was the last loss of his wrestling career.
What followed was a highly decorated high school career, one that included two undefeated seasons and a pair of state championships in Georgia’s largest classification.
Fairchild had offers from colleges that wanted him to wrestle and play football, but he figures playing Division I football at the University of Georgia should keep him plenty busy.
“I didn’t want to put too much on myself,” Fairchild said. “I wanted to be able to really enjoy college. I think doing both would kind of put a little bit too much [on me] – having to drop weight and gain weight, drop weight and gain weight.”
Fairchild played baseball and football, in addition to wrestling, when he was younger. He estimates he began wrestling at 5 or 6 years old.
It wasn’t soon after that Fairchild met Charlie Morris, who runs Morris Fitness in Alpharetta. That’s who taught Fairchild his signature cradle move.
“He saw me at a tournament in Tennessee and I was getting whipped,” Fairchild said. “He literally picked me off of a concrete floor and looked at my dad and was like, ‘I’m going to make a champion out of your kid.’ He did. I mean, I won the state six times as a youth wrestler. It was all thanks to him. He’s the real deal.”
Fairchild enjoyed the one-on-one nature of wrestling when he was younger, but he grew to embrace the team aspect of playing offensive line in football.
“Linemen are kind of the dirty guys,” Fairchild said. “They’ve got to get in and do the dirty work. I’m OK with doing that, and I’m OK with being that guy. As I got older I got OK with being that guy, but as a kid, I definitely liked wrestling a lot more. It was more independent and you could kind of do your own moves and stuff.”
No wrestler reached the second period against Fairchild this season. In fact, the last wrestler to make it more than two minutes on the mat against Fairchild is Forsyth Central’s Darius Green during the 2019-20 season.
The last wrestler to beat Fairchild is Tomari Fox, who wrestled for Collins Hill and is now a starting defensive end at the University of North Carolina.
Fairchild wrestled against Fox as a sophomore, when Fox was a senior.
“He was definitely by far the hardest guy I’ve ever wrestled,” Fairchild said. “Me and him, we kind of had similar attributes. He was very athletic and I was pretty athletic – I mean, I was 15 as a sophomore. He was 17, 18 as a senior. After the match, he kind of just got up and looked at me and was like, ‘You’re the toughest dude I’ve won against all my wrestling in high school.’ I was very grateful for that. I was like, ‘Dang, I can do something with this.’”
As his senior year winds down, Fairchild finds himself with more time than he ever remembers having – no spring football practice, no running with fellow linemen.
Fairchild is coming to terms with the end of his wrestling career, and in doing so, taking stock of those who impacted it so greatly, such as West Forsyth head coach Evan Goff.
“It’s definitely going to be an adjustment, but I think it’ll be worth it,” Fairchild said. “I think I did make the right decision with just sticking to football. I think once I get there to UGA, it’ll be enough. I’m definitely going to miss it. I’m going to miss Coach Goff a lot. He was a real good mentor to me and a really big model for me. He really stuck with us for the past four years. I had football coaches in and out, in and out, in and out. He was the one guy that really stuck with the school, and he did what he said whenever we all first met him, which was he’s going to change our program forever – and he has.”