It’s the next step for local wrestlers

Published 4:15 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

By Kevin Eckleberry

It’s on to the next stage.

A combined 26 wrestlers from Callaway, LaGrange and Troup finished fourth or higher in their respective area meets on Saturday, and that earned each of them an invitation to the state sectional.

Now, the goal for each of those wrestlers is to make it through the state sectional and to the state finals in Macon next week.

Callaway’s wrestlers will be in Lyons for one of the two Class AA state sectionals.

There will be eight wrestlers in each weight class, and the top four finishers will qualify for the state finals.

LaGrange’s and Troup’s wrestlers will be at Woodward Academy for one of the two Class AAAA state sectionals.

In Class AAAA, there are 16 wrestlers in each weight class, and the top eight finishers will move on to the state finals.

The local team with the most entrants in the state sectional is Troup, which will have 12 wrestlers in Macon.

Among that group are four wrestlers, Chase Seals, Scott Hicks, Byron Butts and Brantly Robinson, who each played at state last season.

They’ll be joined by teammates Pearson Strickland, Trevor Upchurch, Michael Irvin, Colby Harry, Darious Hanson, Cade Garner, Quenton Kersey and Graham Finlay.

Earlier this month, Troup participated in the Class AAAA state duals, and it finished fourth.

Now, it’s all about the individual as Troup looks to send as many wrestlers as possible through to the state finals.

“We feel like we’ve got a great shot, if we wrestle well, to place eight or nine guys,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said.

LaGrange will have nine wrestlers in the state sectional, and each of them will be looking to place at state for the first time.

Representing LaGrange in the state sectional are Cole Everett, John Arthur, Matt Callaway, Dexter Fitzpatrick, Mason McPeters, Jacob Anderson, Joseph Bozeman and Charles Ray.

All but two of those LaGrange wrestlers will return next season, so the future appears bright for the program.

“I think they’re going to be really good next year,” said one of the team’s seniors, Cole Everett.

Among Callaway’s sectional participants is Justin Kiss, who placed at state as a freshman and a sophomore before taking his junior year off.

Kiss has had a phenomenal season and has only lost one match, and that came early when he was wrestling up a weight class.

Also going to the sectional for Callaway are Laquize Gilbert, Matthew Wingate, Jakwan Nunley, Ladarius Williams and Austin Thomas.