Big year for Troup teams
Published 1:42 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Considering the school’s ultra-rich tradition in the sport, it was fitting that the wrestling team led the way for Troup during the 2017-2018 school year.
Troup finished fourth in the state duals, and it was third in the traditional state tournament with seven individuals placing.
Thanks in large part to the success enjoyed by the wrestling team, Troup finished fourth in Region 5-AAAA in the Georgia Athletic Director’s Association standings.
Points are awarded to teams and individuals that enjoy success on the state level, and when the spring seasons are completed, the final standings are revealed.
In Region 5-AAAA, Cartersville was on top with 768 points, and it was followed by LaGrange (606 points), Chapel Hill (566 points), Troup (452 points), Central-Carroll (436 points), Sandy Creek (386 points) and Cedartown (364 points).
While the wrestling team led the way with 85 points, the cheerleading team did its part with a fourth-place finish at state, and that was good for 80 points.
Three of Troup’s sports teams advanced to the second round of the state tournament, and three other teams made it to state.
Troup got it done in track and field as well, with Mark-Anthony Dixon racing to a third-place finish.
On the wrestling mat, Troup soared during the 2017-2018 season.
Troup enjoyed a strong run at the state duals on the way to a fourth-place finish in January.
In February, a pair of Troup wrestlers finished second in the traditional state tournament, and five other Tigers placed sixth or higher to earn a spot on the podium.
Seals and Byron Butts both finished second in the state, Scott Hicks and Trevor Upchurch were third, Darious Hanson was fourth, Pearson Strickland finished fifth, and Colby Harry was sixth.
It was Troup’s best finish at state since the glory days under coach Dariel Daniel when it was winning numerous championships.
Troup was paced by a talented group of seniors who helped lead the program back to prominence.
“We’re super proud of the way they’ve wrestled, and the way they’ve worked over the last four years,” Troup head coach Craig Garner said of the seniors.
In November, Troup’s cheerleading program continued to thrive with a fourth-place finish in the state finals in Macon.
It was the second consecutive top four finish for Troup, which won four competitions during the season.
Troup was led by its four seniors, Reagan Jones, Ryan Pless, Kenzie Reeves and Kaylee Williams.
Jones said the close-knit nature of the cheerleaders was a key to the team’s success.
“We all work together,” she said. “We take advice from each other really well this year. We don’t take it harshly. If I need to tell (a teammate), you need to do that, she listens. I think we’re all on the same page this year.”
On the basketball court, Troup’s boys’ team broke through for its first state-tournament win in a number of years.
Troup did it in dramatic fashion with a 56-54 overtime victory over home-standing Northwest Whitfield.
Troup’s season ended with a loss to St. Pius X in the second round.
Senior Jarrious Jefferson, who was named the Region 5-AAAA player of the year, was a driving force behind the Tigers’ success.
“I can’t speak enough to what he did this year,” Troup head coach Blake Craft said of Jefferson. “He had a great senior year. You could tell he was fully invested the entire year.”
Troup’s girls’ basketball team also had a successful season that came to a close with a loss to Pickens County in the first round of the state tournament.
On the football field, it was quite a ride for Tanner Glisson’s Tigers.
Troup went 8-2 in the regular season for the second consecutive season, and it won a state-playoff game on the road.
Troup, which finished third in the region, thumped Heritage 31-7 in the first round, and it fell to St. Piux X 43-35 in a second-round thriller.
Troup featured one of the state’s most explosive offenses led by senior quarterback Montez Crowe, who completed 27-of-32 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns in the final game.
Crowe set numerous school passing records during his two years as a starter, and he helped a program that went 1-9 in 2015 win 17 games the past two seasons.
“We just fell short of our goal,” Crowe said after the St. Pius game. “We know what our goal was. But I’m just telling the young guys to put it behind them. They still have a lot of talent. I keep telling them to get ready for next year.”
Also making it to the second round of the state playoffs was the Troup baseball team, which went 25-9 and finished with one of the highest win totals in the history of the program.
With senior shortstop Ryan Bliss putting together an epic season, Troup tied for the region championship with Cartersville.
Troup swept Ridgeland in the first round of the state playoffs before losing two close ones to Blessed Trinity in the second round.
Troup’s softball team earned a third-place finish in the region, and it hung tough with Northwest Whitfield in the first round of the state playoffs before falling short.
In track and field, speedsters Ashanti Tigner and Mark-Anthony Dixon both excelled on the big stage.
Dixon, a big-play wide receiver in football, finished third in the 100-meter dash at the state finals, and he was fourth in the 200-meter dash.
Tigner, meanwhile, was eighth in the 100 at state.
On the golf course, Troup’s girls’ team finished fourth in the region tournament to qualify for state.
With senior Abby Taylor posting her team’s top score, Troup finished 16th at state.
Wrestling – 85, Cheerleading – 80, Boys basketball – 53; Football – 53; Baseball – 53, Track – 36, Girls golf – 42, Softball – 25, Girls basketball – 25