State time for Troup wrestlers

Published 2:33 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

They’re back and ready to make another run at a championship.

A year ago, the Troup Tigers enjoyed a successful stay in the Class AAAA state wrestling duals.

Troup went 2-2, and it finished fourth in the state duals after falling to Luella in the third-place match.

Troup will be back in Macon today as it looks to improve on its performance from a year ago.

Just like last season, heads to state on the heels of a dominant performance at the Area 5-AAAA duals.

Troup went 3-0 at area, and it thumped top-seeded Central-Carroll to win the title.

Troup will be one of 16 Class AAAA teams participating in the three-day tournament.

“I feel like we’ve still got some good momentum going from the area duals,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “I like our bracket, where we stand with our first-round matchup. The second round is going to be tough.”

Troup’s first match will be against Columbus at 12:30 p.m.

If Troup wins, it would likely face a strong Woodward Academy in the second round.

Woodward Academy, which will face Baldwin in the first round, lost to Troup at last year’s state duals.

If Troup wins its first two matches, it would advance to the semifinals with a berth in the championship round on the mound.

The championship match will be on Saturday at 4 p.m.

If Troup makes it to the last match, it’s opponent would probably be Jefferson, which has won every team state championship for more than 15 years.

Garner said no one is thinking about a possible showdown with Jefferson at the moment, though.

“At this stage, you just take them one at a time,” Garner said.

While a loss would eliminate Troup from championship contention, it could still make it through the loser’s bracket and finish as high as third.

Last year, Troup lost its second match before fighting back to place fourth.

While Troup was unable to fill the 106-pound weight class at the area duals, it still fielded a formidable lineup that overwhelmed Central-Carroll in the championship match.

It’s a team led by six seniors, Chase Seals, Brantly Robinson, Scott Hicks, Trevor Upchurch, Byron Butts and Quenton Kersey.

They are all veteran wrestlers who were in the lineup for last year’s state duals.

Seals, Hicks and Robinson all placed at last year’s traditional state meet.

Troup also has a talented group of underclassmen that includes Cade Garner, Kameron Clements, Michael Irvin, Colby Harry, Pearson Strickland and Darious Hanson and Dylan Hayes.

Callaway and LaGrange were both hoping to make it Macon as well, but they came up short.

LaGrange went 3-1 at the Area 5-AAAA duals and finished fourth, with its lone loss coming to Central-Carroll.

LaGrange, which had reached the state duals for five consecutive seasons, will participate in a tournament at Smiths Station (Ala.) on Friday and Saturday.

Callaway went 1-2 in the Area 5-AA duals to come up short.

Only the top two finishers in each area tournament advanced to state.