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Troup hosting Dariel Daniel Grind

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – The numbers speak for themselves.

During Dariel Daniel’s time as Troup High’s wrestling coach, he oversaw a program that enjoyed phenomenal success.

The Tigers won nine state championships and finished second nine other times under Daniel’s guidance, and they once enjoyed a stretch where they won 252 consecutive matches.

By the time Daniel left the program 15 years ago, he’d compiled a 411-12-3 record, and he’d established himself as one of the best wrestling coaches in state history.

ated with the sport after leaving Troup as a referee, a coach in Texas, a youth instructor, a writer, and then finally as a coach on the Long Cane Middle School team.

Tragically, Daniel died in a car accident three years ago.

While Daniel is gone, he certainly is not forgotten, and his memory will be honored over the next two days during a tournament that will be held at Troup High.

Craig Garner, who wrestled for Daniel before later coaching with him, decided last year to name a tournament in honor of his former friend and mentor.

It’s called the Dariel Daniel Grind, and as the name indicates, the tournament will be a test for all of the teams involved.

Whereas most dual-format tournaments are held on one day and require each team to wrestle five matches, the Daniel tournament is different.

It’s a two-day event, and each of the teams will wrestle 10 matches.

Troup will have a varsity and a junior-varsity team entered, so most of its wrestlers will compete in 10 matches.

It will be a challenge for Troup’s wrestlers, and Garner said that’s the idea behind the tournament.

“That was kind of his mentality,” Garner said of Daniel. “When things got tough, our guys were going to be able to find a way to win. Because that’s what we do. We thrive in those adverse situations. The harder things got, we felt the tougher our guys got.”

This Troup team is starting to bear a resemblance to some of those teams that Daniel coached.

Troup has won three consecutive tournament championships, and it is on an 18-game winning streak in dual matches, and it has a 27-2 record.

At East Paulding, Troup beat Hiram 83-0, East Paulding 66-9, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe 64-6 and Adairsville 69-9.

Before that, Troup won dual-format tournaments at Hiram and Carrollton, and it also won the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament and had five individual champions.

The Dariel Daniel Grind will feature 11 teams, including the two from Troup.

The other teams involved will be Heard County, Central-Phenix City, Lamar County, Luella, Northgate, Carrollton, Creekview, East Paulding and Locust Grove.

The tournaments gets under way today at 4 p.m., and the action resumes on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

The tournament should conclude around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and trophies will be presented to the first-place, second-place and third-place teams.