Troup wrestlers finish third

Published 11:32 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

A short-handed Troup wrestling team opened the season with a third-place finish in a dual-format tournament at East Coweta on Saturday.

Troup’s only loss came to Ola, and it followed that up with three consecutive wins to finish third.

Troup, which is missing a number of wrestlers who are still playing football, was unable to fill three weight classes.

The Tigers were still just a few points away from possibly winning the championship.

Troup’s lone loss was by five points to Ola, which finished third in the state last season.

Troup faced a nearly 20-point deficit to Ola before charging back, and it headed into the final match with a chance to win.

“It was bitter-sweet,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “Obviously we don’t like to lose, and we consider that a loss not winning it. But it was good.

“Going to 18 points down to Ola, and we were missing three weight classes, so we had to scratch, claw, and fight our way back.”

Troup was still down by 14 points to Ola when Cade Garner and Chase Seals had back-to-back pins to cut Ola’s lead to two heading into the final match.

The final match featured a wrestler from Ola who finished second in the state last season and Troup’s Scott Hicks, who was third at state.

It was a hard-fought match with Hicks falling short, so Ola escaped with a 41-36 win.

Troup followed up the loss to Ola with wins over Clarke Central (44-30), East Coweta (60-18) and Hillgrove (48-30).

Clarke Central finished fifth in the state in Class AAAAA last season.

Four of Troup’s wrestlers, Cade Garner, Darius Hanson, Chase Seals and Byron Butts, finished the day with perfect 4-0 records.

Garner and Butts each won all of their matches by pin, while Hanson and Seals each had three pins.

Troup will be at Buford High on Saturday for a traditional-format tournament.