Troup’s wrestlers will put their hopes on the line when they compete in the Area 5-AAAA tournament on Saturday at LaGrange High.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state sectionals.
Troup will field wrestlers in 13 of the 14 weight classes when the whistle sounds for the first match on the Grangers’ home mat.
Troup will not have a participant in the heavyweight division.
Two Troup wrestlers will be making their first appearances in different weight classes.
Sophomore Cameron Cato, who has been competing in the 113-pound weight class all season, will wrestle at 106 pounds. Will Lundberg will move into Cato’s old spot at 113 pounds.
Also, senior Michael Mackfield will compete in the 195-pound weight class after wrestling at 220 pounds most of the season.
Hudson Newton will wrestle at 220 pounds.
The changes allow Troup to field nearly a complete lineup, a big change from earlier in the season when it had multiple weight classes unfilled.
“Just like team duals, it’s going to be tough,” Troup coach Chris Mitchem said. “I mean, pretty much everybody is fighting for third. (Alexander and Carrollton have) just so much fire power right now. Most teams in the region are young besides them.”
Alexander beat Carrollton to win the area duals.
Troup is a rapidly improving team, though, and Mitchem said “anything can happen. They’re looking good and they’re getting better.”
Troup’s only two seniors will be making their best effort to advance beyond the area tournament when they take the mat on Saturday.
Mackfield, who only started wrestling competitively as a junior, is one of those seniors.
The other senior is Cassidy Carden at 195 pounds, who has won 20 matches this season and is hoping to pad his win column on Saturday.
“We’ve just got to go out there and wrestle hard, be aggressive, be on offense and we’ll win,” Carden said.
Mitchem said most of his wrestlers have the ability to make it through to the state sectionals if they wrestle to their potential.
“It just depends on how the kids wrestle,” Mitchem said. “They’ve been getting prepared for it. It’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing now as if they really believe in themselves and how good they can do.”
Mackfield has been one of the team’s most consistent performers all year.
He hopes to use his strength to win an area title in a lighter weight class than the one he’s competed in most of the season.
“It’s light to me, but I feel good about it,” Mackfield commented. “I’m going to get out there and do the same old same old. You got to wrestle. I’m going to try my best to win it and put all my effort and heart into it.”
Mitchem will also be looking to junior Adam Love, who has nearly 30 wins this season wrestling at 132 pounds.
Love wrestled at 138 pounds earlier this year as well.
“He has the best record so far as in wins,” Mitchem added. “Mackfield probably has the best winning percentage. We’ve got about six guys with winning records. We’re getting there. We’re young, but we’re going to keep on going and keep on improving.”