Troup cheerleaders shine on big stage
COLUMBUS – The Troup High cheerleaders capped a special season by earning a spot on the podium at the state competition in Columbus.
After making it through the sectional round on Friday, Troup returned to the mat on Saturday for the state finals.
Troup’s strong performance was enough to secure a sixth-place finish in Class AAAA.
“We couldn’t be any prouder of this group of kids,” Troup coach Amelia Key said. “They’re dedicated, they’ve worked hard, they’re talented. To top it off, we only have one senior. They’re going to come back in ready to go for the title next year. They’re already talking about it today. They’re excited, and have a lot to look forward to.”
Throughout the season, Troup showed it could compete with the state’s best teams.
During the regular season, Troup had some impressive showings, including a first-place performance at the Whitewater Invitational.
Then at the Region 5-AAAA competition, Troup had a second-place performance.
While the region champions earned a bye into the state finals, the other teams competed in the state sectional on Friday.
Needing to finish in the top eight in the sectional to make it through to the state finals, Troup was sixth.
Key actually felt it was a benefit for her team to get a chance to get a performance in at the Columbus Civic Center before the state finals.
“We thought we would loved to have won region, but to get their nerves out of the system (Friday) was good for them,” Key said. “It’s exactly what we needed.”
On Saturday, Troup came out and secured one of the six spots on the awards podium.
“In that arena and that setting, and with that many freshmen and sophomores, it’s a little nerve-wracking,” Key said. “And they blocked that all out of their system and came in and just performed, and wowed everybody and did a great job.”
Two of Troup’s fellow competitors from Region 5-AAAA, Carrollton and Whitewater, earned the top spots in the state finals.
Carrollton had a team score of 288 to take the top spot, and Whitewater was second with 283 points.
The remaining teams in the top six were Pike County (280), Cartersville (278), Stephens County (262) and Troup (260).
“We knew going into we had one of the best regions,” Key said. “We knew we had one of the toughest regions in the state, and Woodward didn’t miss making the finals by much. The top three out of six were from our region.”
Key said it was an eye-opening experience for the girls to realize they were right there with the best teams in the state.
“They got their names called, and they were down there with the top teams in the state,” Key said. “It finally hit them, that they’re considered one of those teams now. We told our team all year, do your job. We told them if they did their job, they would end up on the floor as one of the finalists, and they did.”
WRESTLING: It was a big day for the Troup High wrestling team, which went 4-1 in the Alexander Duals on Saturday to finish second.
Troup finished second out of 12 teams.
Troup’s lone loss was a tough one.
Facing Alexander, Troup had one point taken away for unsportsmanlike conduct, and that caused the two teams to finish tied.
Alexander then claimed the win based on the tiebreaker criteria, and it went on to claim the tournament championship with a 5-0 record.
“It’s better this happen now than in the state tournament, or the area duals, or the traditional state tournament,” Troup coach Craig Garner said. “We’ll learn from it. Everybody will learn from it, and it’s not going to happen again.”
It was still a successful season opener for the Tigers, who beat South Paulding, Douglas County, Carrollton and Woodland and had Alexander beaten if not for the one-point penalty.
Among the highlights for Troup was the performance of freshman Colby Harry, who made his high-school debut and went 5-0 with five pins in the heavyweight division, even though he weighed in at just 238 pounds.
Sophomore Quentin Kersey, who didn’t begin wrestling until last year, was also 5-0.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports