State time for local wrestlers

Published 4:57 pm Friday, February 3, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – The journey continues.

More than three months ago, the local wrestlers got together for the start of practice, and they’ve been grinding away since then, all with the hope that they would end their respective seasons at the state finals in Macon.

This weekend, nearly 30 combined wrestlers from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup will have a chance to make that a reality.

Today and Saturday, state sectionals in all classifications will be held at locations across Georgia.

The top performers from each of the sectionals will advance to the state finals next week.

The wrestlers from Troup and LaGrange will compete in one of the two state sectionals in Class AAAA.

Troup and LaGrange will be a part of the state sectional in Woodward Academy, and the other Class AAAA sectional is in Jefferson.

There will be 16 competitors in each weight class, and the top eight finishers will advance to the state finals.

In Class AA, Callaway will be a part of the sectional in Toombs County, and the other state sectional in that classification is in Rockmart.

There will only be eight competitors in each of the weight classes in the Class AA sectionals, and the top four finishers will move on to the state finals.

For the Troup Tigers, it will be the continuation of what has been a sensational season.

Troup won the Area 5-AAAA traditional-format tournament, and that was its seventh tournament championship of the season.

Troup had 14 competitors in the area tournament, and 13 of them finished fourth of better to qualify for the state sectional.

Among that group were area champions Scott Hicks (152 pounds), Pearson Strickland (106 pounds), Chase Seals (132 pounds), Gavin Wood (138 pounds), Byron Butts (182 pounds), Quenton Kersey (195 pounds) and Colby Harry (285 pounds).

Finishing second for Troup were Darius Hanson (113 pounds), Brantly Robinson (126 pounds) and Trey Harris (145 pounds).

Dre Flagg (160 pounds) and Michael Irvin (220 pounds) were third, and Mason Lumpkin (120 pounds) placed fourth.

As much success as the Tigers have enjoyed, head coach Craig Garner said there’s no looking back.

“There’s a reason why your front windshield is 10 times larger than your rear-view mirror,” Troup coach Craig Garner said. “Keep looking in front of you. Have a short memory, and don’t look behind you. Don’t dwell on it. So, let’s focus on that windshield in front of you, and that next tournament is the most important one of your life.”

LaGrange had 13 wrestlers in the area meet, and 11 of them advanced.

John Todd Bohn and De’Erious Sands were area champions, and Chase Sams (152 pounds), John Arthur (160 pounds) and Richard Gaskin (285 pounds) each finished second.

LaGrange’s third-place finishers were Lane Oliver (106 pounds), Quindon Dunson (132 pounds), Demetrius Dean (145 pounds), Cole Everett (138 pounds) and Jordan Ragan (195 pounds), and Dexter Fitzpatrick (170 pounds) was fourth.

Callaway will have six wrestlers competing in the state sectional.

That group includes area champions Ken Wilson, Jabarri Fisher and Matthew Wingate.

Jayvon Nunley placed second, Khaliq Swift was third, and Jamarcus White was fourth.