Around 3,500 visitors in Troup County this week for USA South championships
Published 9:10 pm Friday, April 13, 2018
Approximately 3,500 visitors are in LaGrange for the USA South Spring Championship this weekend.
The championships started on Wednesday and are scheduled to wrap up on Sunday.
This is the second time the Division III championships have been held in LaGrange, and all hotels in LaGrange are sold out, according to Dave Marler, the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Marketing and Tourism.
“There may be a room or two here or there, but I think they’re at 98 or 99 percent (capacity),” Marler said.
Baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse and golf tournaments are being held around the county. Callaway Stadium, Highland Country Club, McCluskey Tennis Center, LaGrange College Varsity Tennis Courts, Shuford Softball Complex, Point University’s West Point Park and LaGrange College’s Cleaveland Field are being used for the tournament.
“We actually got lucky and got the rooms in December. So, we’re at the Holiday Inn,” said Piedmont College softball coach Treey Martin.
Martin said that Piedmont’s women’s lacrosse team couldn’t get hotel rooms in the area, and they are having to stay in Alabama.
Marty Criswell, from Tallahassee, Florida, said he stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott for the tournament.
“It’s actually a great place. We love the square,” Criswell said. “It’s a great town, great city and great food.”
The championships are sponsored by Troup County Parks and Recreation and the City of LaGrange. LaGrange College is a member of the USA South conference.
“We had staff in place to take care of the field maintenance before and during the games. And we did the same thing over at the tennis center,” said Cajen Rhodes, director of Troup County Parks and Recreation.
“We just basically cleared the schedule, made sure that the courts were available and made sure that we have staffing in place so that it would run, but the Sports South Conference, they do a really good job. They bring in their own people who kind of run the tournament once they get started in place.”
Rhodes said managing the event is different from usual events hosted by the department.
“Most of the tournaments that we do are youth sports tournaments, and its kind of neat to have college athletes coming in and competing at the college level and seeing them compete at some of our facilities,” Rhodes said. “So, it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s a change from youth sports to more higher-level competition, and it’s a great thing.”
Kristyn Mead, whose son Evan plays baseball for Piedmont College, said she had been to LaGrange before and enjoyed coming back.
“LaGrange is beautiful. I like the campus, I like the downtown area,” Mead said.
Marler said the city will host the tournament again next year.
“We think that it is a testament to the outstanding facilities that Troup County Parks and Recreation provides and maintain on a daily basis, as well as the robust hospitality industry that we have in Troup County,” Marler said. “And it demonstrates that we can accommodate tournaments at this level.”
LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton said the tournament is great for the city.
“It shows off LaGrange College and our many athletic venues,” Thornton said. “The teams and families have filled our hotels. They are eating in our restaurants and shopping with our retailers. These visitors are experiencing what’s great about our city, and I’m confident they will leave with a good impression and hopefully return soon.”
For more information on where competitions will be held, visit usasouth.net/championships/spring_championships.