Troup wrestlers are staying busy
LAGRANGE – They’ve been busy.
The Troup Tigers, after competing in the Hiram Duals on Saturday, have now wrestled 17 matches since beginning their season on Nov. 14.
So far, the Tigers have responded well to the hectic schedule.
Despite missing three starters during the Hiram Duals, the Tigers went 4-1 and finished third, with their only loss coming to South Paulding, a team they beat earlier in the season when they were at full strength.
Troup also fared well in the Alexander Duals with a 4-1 record, finishing second out of 12 teams.
Troup finished eighth at the Kennesaw Mountain Duals, and it competed in a three-team dual at Smith Station (Ala.) last week.
Troup has been much busier than it was early in the 2014 season, and second-year head coach Craig Garner said that’s “by design.”
“We started our season two weeks earlier as far as competing than we did last year, and that was by design,” Garner said. “Last year, we had a much younger group. We needed five weeks of practice before we started competing.”
It’s a more veteran team this season, so Garner said “we started competing earlier this year.”
Troup was short-handed for the Hiram Duals.
Among the starters who were unable to go because of injury were heavyweight Hudson Newton, who placed at state a year ago, and Hunter Wood, who suffered a dislocated elbow in practice on Friday.
Also unable to wrestle was Darius Hanson, a freshman who is having a terrific season with an 11-1 record.
Troup also had to forfeit the 126-pound match because it didn’t have anyone who could make weight.
“Between a forfeit there, and three of our starters out, we competed really well,” Garner said.
Troup beat Chapel Hill 60-18, Kell 45-34, Pepperell 42-24, and Hiram 63-18 in the third-place match.
Steven McClendon had a big tournament with a 5-0 record, and Pearson Strickland, Brantly Robinson, Jeremiah McClendon, Scott Hicks, Byron Butts and Quenton Kersey all went 4-1.
Senior Dakota Wilson was 2-0 with a pair of pins.
Troup began its season by nearly winning the Alexander Duals, and 285-pounder Colby Harry was one of the standouts that day with a 5-0 record with five pins.
Kersey went 5-0 at 195 pounds, and Steven McClendon (106 pounds), Hanson (113), Jeremiah McClendon (145), Butts (170) and Wood (182) each won four matches.
Trevor Upchurch (120), Chase Seals (132), Treyonn Harris (152), Hicks (160) and Colton Greathouse (220) each had three wins, and Robinson (138) won two matches.
Wood has been a consistently solid performer for Troup, and Garner said “hopefully he’ll be back in four to five weeks.”
Many of the current Troup wrestlers were major contributors a year ago, including Newton, who finished fifth in the state meet last season.
Other current Troup wrestlers who competed in the state tournament a year ago are McClendon, Butts, Wood, Seals and Upchurch.
Troup has also gotten a big lift from a number of newcomers to the lineup, including Steven McClendon, Hanson, Hicks, Kersey, Greathouse and Harry.
“What I’m most pleased with is, some of the ones that didn’t have a whole lot of success last year are starting to have some success this year,” Garner said.
Troup will continue its season this weekend with a tournament in Woodstock, and it will be at at LaGrange High the following weekend for the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports