Troup wrestlers set for home stretch

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

It wasn’t how he envisioned his junior season going.

Troup’s Trevor Upchurch came into the 2016-2017 season with high expectations after making it to the state finals as a sophomore.

Unfortunately for Upchurch, his junior year was cut short by a shoulder injury, and he was on the sidelines as a successful season came to a close for the Tigers.

Upchurch is back and going strong now, though, and he’s at full strength and wrestling well as the season’s home stretch arrives.

Upchurch and his teammates will be on the mat on Saturday for the Alexander Invitational, and the Tigers will be in Cedartown on Jan. 6 for the Area 5-AAAA duals.

The Tigers are coming off a dominant effort in the Dariel Daniel Grind where they went 9-0 to capture the championship.

As impressive a performance as it was, Upchurch said now isn’t the time to relax.

“I think we have a lot of work to do,” Upchurch said. “We’ll just keep grinding.”

Upchurch wears a shoulder brace when he wrestles, but the injury is fully healed.

“I just wear the brace for protection,” Upchurch said.

After the initial injury, Upchurch briefly returned before his season ended for good.

The good news for Upchurch was that the injury occurred when he was a junior, so he knew he had another season to go.

Upchurch, like his five fellow seniors, is making the most of his final season.

“I’m having a good time just being able to wrestle,” he said.

Along with Upchurch, the other seniors are Brantly Robinson, Chase Seals, Scott Hicks, Quenton Kersey and Byron Butts.

All six wrestlers have enjoyed tremendous success, and Robinson, Seals and Hicks all placed at state last season.

Seals finished second in his weight class, Hicks was third, and Robinson placed sixth.

On Saturday, Troup will be participating in its second traditional-format tournament of the season.

In November, Troup competed in the Buford Invitational, and seven of the nine wrestlers who participated placed fifth or higher.

Seals was second, Upchurch and Darious Hanson placed third, Graham Finlay was fourth, and Pearson Strickland finished fifth.

After Saturday’s tournament, Troup will turn its full attention to the area duals.

The Tigers won the area championship last season, and they’re the prohibitive favorite to win it again this year.

If Troup finishes first or second in the area duals, it will qualify for the state duals.

After the county championship on Jan. 16, Troup will participate in the Last Man Standing tournament on Jan. 20 before the traditional area tournament on Jan. 27 at LaGrange High.

Then it will be on to the state sectional before the season ends in the state finals.

Troup was at its best in the Dariel Daniel Grind, and it pummeled Carrollton in the final match.

One of Troup’s top wrestlers was Hicks, who went 9-0 with nine pins. Hicks dropped his first match of the season, but he hasn’t lost since and he’ll take a 34-1 record into Saturday’s tournament.

Seals also went 9-0 in the Daniel tournament, and he has only lost twice this season.