Weathers’ enthusiasm is based on a large and talented freshman class that he believes has the potential to lead the program to great heights in the coming years.
A bunch of those freshmen are already in the lineup, and some others are waiting for their chance.
Weathers said this freshman class compares favorably to the class from 10 years or so ago that ended up helping the team earn back-to-back top-five finishes at state.
When those freshmen became seniors, LaGrange finished third in the state and came within a few points of winning it all.
“I told this bunch, I’m comparing you to that freshman class,” Weathers said. “They’re young. They’re just having to grow up. We have six, seven freshmen in the lineup.”
The Grangers also have four sophomores in the lineup on a regular basis along with seniors Logan Pitts, Devonta Williams and Hunter Richardson.
“It’s been a big plus having (the seniors),” Weathers said.
There’s no doubt the buzzword around this team is youth, though, with so many wrestlers getting a taste of high-school wrestling for the first time.
Those wrestlers got a whole bunch of mat time on Tuesday during a four-team meet meet at Fayette County.
LaGrange had four matches, winning two and losing another one.
LaGrange beat Jonesboro 39-36 and lost to Fayette County 47-30 and Forest Park 42-28.
“It was good,” Weathers said. “Some young guys got to step up to the challenge, and they got to wrestle varsity matches, and they won.”
Perhaps the biggest win of the night was provided by sophomore Dexter Jones, who delivered a pin in the final match against Jonesboro.
LaGrange was down by three points at the time, and Jones’ pin was good for six points and gave his team the win.
Freshman Emmanuel Mann went 2-1.
“He’s getting better every time,” Weathers said.
Freshman Luke Richardson also had a nice day, and even in losing Weathers said he did himself proud.
Richardson lost 8-6 in overtime to a wrestler from Forest Park.
“He wrestled his butt off,” Weathers said. “That’s the best I’ve seen him wrestle this year, so I’m hopeful the light bulb is switching on and he’s starting to figure it out. It can happen late in the season for a freshman.”
Another freshman, Corey Morgan, has had a strong season that included a second-place finish in the Silva Invitational.
This weekend, LaGrange will be busy with wrestlers split between the Smiths Station Invitational (Ala.) and a junior-varsity tournament at Heard County.
“They’ll all get a bunch of matches,” Weathers said.
After that, LaGrange will participate in the county championship at Troup High on Tuesday.
LaGrange then has a few other matches before hosting the traditional area tournament on Feb. 1-2, with the top four wrestlers in each weight class qualifying for the state tournament.