LEXINGTON — Wilson Cannon collected the trophy he coveted most.
The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Cannon helped the Lexington boys defend their Ohio Cardinal Conference swimming championship Saturday at Wooster’s Ellen Shapiro Natatorium. Cannon won a pair of individual events and was on two winning relay teams as the Minutemen piled up 526 points, well ahead of runner-up Wooster (441).
What’s more, Cannon broke the OCC record in the 100 yard butterfly (52.36 seconds) and anchored the 400 freestyle relay team to a first-place finish in a record-setting time of 3:17.97.
When it came time to hand out the boys MVP award, Cannon was passed over in favor of Wooster’s Thomas Matthew, who set a pair of individual OCC records in the 100 and 200 freestyle events Saturday. A junior, Matthew was also selected boys MVP last year after Cannon shared the award with Ashland’s Hudson McDaniel and Ross Garrison in 2017.
The MVP award is based on a weighted points system that factors conference meet records into the equation.
“The OCC (team title) was MVP enough for me,” said Wilson, who won the OCC title in the 100 fly for a fourth consecutive year. “I’m happy that we managed to pull it off.
“I think it was tougher and more satisfying (to repeat as OCC team champ), mainly because we had a target on our back. Winning just makes it that much more enjoyable, not just for me but the whole team.”
In addition to his record-setting performances, Cannon won an individual championship in the 200 individual medley (2:03.93) and helped the 200 medley relay team to the gold medal in 1:40.08. That performance was less than a second off the OCC record, set in 2014 by Wooster.
“Wilson had four first-places and two meet records,” Lex coach Brock Spurling said. “He swam well. He’s one of our leaders and he put our team on his back and said, ‘I’m going to get it done today.’
“He’s setting himself up nicely to do some pretty neat things next month.”
The swimming postseason will begin in early-February and culminates with the annual state meet Feb. 20 to 23 at Canton’s C.T. Branin Natatorium. Cannon has qualified for state in the maximum four events in each of his first three years of high school.
Last year was his best state showing to date. He was eighth in the 100 butterfly, 14th in the 200 freestyle and a member of the 200 medley relay team that finished sixth.
While postseason expectations are higher than ever, Cannon wasn’t looking too far down the road. The OCC team title was the second straight for Lex after Wooster won 14 straight.
“I’m really excited I can share (the team title) with some of the new freshmen, the sophomores and the juniors,” Cannon said. “I’m really proud of my team and how much work they put in.”