The LaGrange High wrestling team is ready for its biggest competition of the season.
The Grangers, along with seven other teams including the Troup Tigers, will participate in the Area 5-AAAA traditional tournament on Saturday in Carrollton.
At stake for each wrestler is a berth in the state sectionals.
To make that a reality, a wrestler will have to finish in the top four in his weight class.
The Grangers tuned up for the area tournament by competing in the Bowdon Invitational on Monday, and by hosting a three-team meet on Monday.
LaGrange beat Newnan and Heard County in Monday’s meet, and it finished third out of 16 teams during the Bowdon tournament.
It was a strong showing at Bowdon, with nine LaGrange wrestlers placing.
“It was a really good weekend of wrestling in a pretty tough tournament,” LaGrange coach Scooter Weathers said. “We wrestled a lot of different schools from north to south Georgia that we have not see this year. It was a great tune-up for the area tournament this coming weekend.
“We had some wrestlers really step it up in some tough situations and pull through like true Grangers. We took 11 wrestlers and placed nine of them to a top six performance. I will take nine placers any day of the week.”
Qua Tucker was LaGrange’s top finisher with a second-place performance, and Kyler Hall, Turner Duke, Guy Wegienka and Emmanuel Mann finished third.
DeErious Sands and Lew Hyers were fourth, Matt Watford was fifth, and Michael Weathers finished sixth.
On the way to his second-place finish, Tucker beat a wrestler from Bowdon who finished second in the state last year.
Tucker won that match 17-0 before losing to a state champion from Villa Rica in the finals.
“Qua had an outstanding tournament,” Weathers said. “He wrestled well in a tough weight class in this tournament and came out very well. It was a good tournament tune-up for him going into area.”
Hall was a number four seed, and Weathers said “we always talk about beating someone who is seeded higher than you and Kyler did that.”
Weathers also said that Duke “had an outstanding tournament,” and that Wegienka “has been wrestling really well and solid as of late. He reminds me a lot of a former wrestler here, Stephen Palmer.”
As for Mann, Weathers said he has gained some valuable experience in recent weeks.
“Mayo has beaten some key heavyweights over the last several weekends,” Weathers said. “Some of them were state placers in Alabama and in Georgia. He is turning it up at the right time.”
Weathers said that Sands is only just starting to realize his potential.
“He is a tough wrestler with a lot of heart and is going to be a really good wrestler for the next three years,” Weathers said. “He has the ability to achieve some special feats over the next three years.”
Hyers, a senior, “has wrestled really well since the area duals and has really stepped it up as of late,” according to Weathers.
Michael Weathers also continued to enjoy a strong season.
“Michael wrestled to a sixth-place medal and has really gotten better this year,” said coach Weathers, Michael’s father. “Considering he missed three years of athletics due to a major knee injury, he has progressed really well and gives 100 percent all the time and works hard.”
On Monday, the team’s three seniors, Michael Weathers, Lew Hyers and Jacob Butler were honored.
“They have accomplished a lot in their time at LaGrange High School,” Weathers said. “Senior night is always a special time and a fun night. I want to personally thank each of our seniors and their parents for their dedication and hard work over these several years.”
LaGrange beat Newnan 60-21, and Heard County 64-15.
LaGrange won all but one of the matches by pin.
Against Newnan, LaGrange’s winners were Sands, Chases Reese, Garrett Godby, Tucker, Hall, Duke, Butler, Khalid Barnes, Wegienka and Mann.
LaGrange’s winners against Heard County were Reese, Godby, Tucker, Chase Sams, Hall, Duke, Dexter Jones, Butler, Wegienka, Jeffrey Walker and Mann.