Last updated: January 30. 2014 1:23AM - 446 Views
By Kevin Eckleberry Sports Editor

The Troup High wrestling team works hard during practice last week. The Tigers are gearing up for the Area 5-AAAA tournament on Saturday in Carrollton.Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
The Troup High wrestling team works hard during practice last week. The Tigers are gearing up for the Area 5-AAAA tournament on Saturday in Carrollton.Kevin Eckleberry | Daily News
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The plan was to participate in a tough tournament on Saturday, and then enjoy a full week of practice.

The first part of that plan fell into place nicely for the Troup High wrestling team, which took part in a tournament at Marietta High School.

As for the full week of practice, that hasn’t worked out.

The Tigers practiced on Monday, but today will mark their third straight day of not practicing.

Schools in Troup County let out early on Tuesday because of the winter storm, and the Tigers didn’t practice on Wednesday or today because schools weren’t in session either.

The Tigers will practice on Friday, and on Saturday, they’ll head to Carrollton for the Area 5-AAAA traditional-format tournament.

“You worry about the kids not doing anything. It’s pretty tough,” Troup coach Chris Mitchem said. “Weight management, that’s the big thing, and making sure their minds are in the right place. You’re not practicing to get any better. You are what you are at that point in time. You just want to make sure they’re focused, and ready to perform.”

Mitchem said the team will hold a challenging practice on Friday because he wants his wrestlers prepared for a two-day tournament looking ahead to state.

“We’re going to have a tough one only because, we want to make sure they’re still ready for a two-day tournament,” Mitchem said. “This is the only time we’re going to have a one-day tournament in the next few weeks. It’ll be just like we’re wrestling a match.”

Seven Troup wrestlers participated in the Marietta tournament, and three of them placed.

Adam Love earned a second-place finish in the 138-pound weight class.

Hudson Newton was third in the 220-pound weight class, and Jonathan Scott was third at 170 pounds.

Mitchem felt the tournament was terrific preparation for the wrestlers looking ahead to the area tournament, and hopefully beyond.

“It’s going to be tough for them to be successful. It’s not going to be easy,” Mitchem said. “But also, I wanted to simulate what we’re going to go through at region, and eight-team, one-day tournament.

In Saturday’s area tournament, the top four finishers in each weight class will qualify for the state sectionals.

At the state sectional, there will be 16 wrestlers in each weight class, and the top eight finishers will make it to the state finals.

A handful of Troup wrestlers are hoping to make it all the way to the awards podium at the state finals.

One of those wrestlers is Love, a senior who has enjoyed an exceptional season.

Love has gone back and forth between 132 pounds and 138 pounds this season, and he wrestled at 138 pounds at the Marietta tournament.

“I’m just trying to wrestle where I have the best chance to finish in the top six at state,” Love said.

Scott is another senior, and he’s looking forward to competing in the area tournament after missing out last year.

Scott injured his back in December of 2012, and he had to have surgery during the summer.

Scott tweaked his back earlier this season, but he’s remained mostly healthy and heads to the area tournament on the heels of a strong performance at the Marietta tournament.

Scott said the medical folks “told me everything I had to do to get back, and I did it.”

Scott has had a terrific season, and he’s confident heading to the area tournament.

“I’ve worked hard,” Scott said. “I think I’ve got a shot at (placing) at state.”

Two other senior wrestlers, Cameron Cato and Tanius Harris, are also preparing for their final area tournament.

Cato, who has been wrestling at 113 pounds late in the season, said “I can place (at state), I can win it if I do what I need to do.”

Harris, who wrestles at 184 pounds, made it to state last season and could have been headed to a place on the podium, but he suffered an injury during the state sectional and was done.

“Last year, the coaches said I could have gone to state, but I broke my ribs at sectionals,” Harris said. “I’ve got a lot to come back from.”

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