Troup wrestlers reach semifinals

Published 11:41 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

They’re halfway to a championship.

The Troup Tigers overwhelmed Columbus and Woodward Academy on Thursday on the opening day of the Class AAAA state wrestling duals in Macon.

After beating Columbus 75-6, Troup routed Woodward Academy 47-18 to reach the semifinals.

Troup will take on Gilmer County at 5:30 p.m. today, and if it wins that match, it would advance to the championship round on Saturday.

Jefferson and West Laurens will meet in today’s other semifinal match.

If Troup loses to Gilmer County, it would still have a chance to finish as high as third.

“It’s going to be a tough match (against Gilmer),” Troup head coach Craig Garner said. “On paper, they’re probably the favorite, but you don’t wrestle on paper. Right now, I feel like we’ve got plenty of confidence. We’ve got momentum in our favor. I feel like we’re ready.”

Troup had no trouble with Columbus in Thursday’s opening round, setting up a showdown with a formidable Woodward Academy squad.

From the get-go, though, it was all Troup, which won the first nine matches.

Troup’s only losses, in fact, came in matches it forfeited.

The Woodward match started at 138 pounds, and Brantly Robinson won to get Troup off to a quick start.

Next up was Cade Garner at 145 pounds, and he was losing 5-1 in the second period when he turned the tables on his opponent and won by pin.

“That was pivotal,” Craig Garner said. “That was a big one.

“That really got the momentum going in our favor.”

Chase Seals (152 pounds) and Scott Hicks (160 pounds) won the next two matches by pin, and Graham Finlay kept the momentum going with a win at 170 pounds.

Quenton Kersey won by pin at 182 pounds, and Byron Butts prevailed in a tight match at 195 pounds.

“We were losing the whole match, and were down by one in the last 15 seconds and were able to put him on his back for a win,” Garner said.

Michael Irvin won by decision at 220 pounds, and Colby Harry pinned his opponent at 285 pounds.

Pearson Strickland (113 pounds) and Trevor Upchurch (132 pounds) also won, and Troup forfeited the matches at 106 pounds, 120 pounds and 126 pounds.

Against Columbus, winners for Troup were Strickland, Darious Hanson, Upchurch, Robinson, Garner, Seals, Hicks, Finlay, Kersey, Kameron Clements, Butts, Irvin and Harry.

Troup’s only loss came at 106 pounds with a forfeit.