Grangers work to get better
Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They finished the season with a spot on the podium, and now they’re aiming for bigger and better things.
LaGrange’s Dexter Fitzpatrick and Matthew Callaway both placed at last season’s Class AAAA state meet in Macon.
While Fitzpatrick finished fourth at 195 pounds, Callaway placed fifth at 132 pounds.
Both men will be looking to improve on those finishes during the 2018-2019 season that will begin in November.
To help achieve that goal, Callaway and Fitzpatrick are both taking part in a wrestling camp at Unity Elementary School this week, and they’ll be on the mat for more than 20 hours getting tips and pointers from a handful of coaches.
“It’s big for us,” Fitzpatrick said. “There are so many different types of coaches, and you get to take something from every one of them.”
Fitzpatrick had a terrific junior season that culminated with his impressive showing at state.
After dropping his first state match, Fitzpatrick won four in a row before falling short in the third-place match.
Fitzpatrick’s goal for the upcoming season is a lofty one.
“I want to be a state champion,” he said.
Fitzpatrick is also a star football player, and the linebacker will be a focal point of the team this season.
This summer, Fitzpatrick is participating in workouts with football and wrestling, and while that makes for a busy schedule, he’s happy to do it.
“I love to win,” he said. “I’ll do whatever it takes.”
Callaway, who made a huge jump between his freshman and sophomore seasons, said “practice really helps a lot, especially over the summer. You just have to keep practicing the moves. Because if you don’t, you’re going to forget them.”
Callaway is happy to take advantage of every opportunity he has to wrestle during the summer.
In addition to the camp, LaGrange’s wrestlers are participating in regular workouts throughout the summer.
“Every second that I put into wrestling is going to put me one step higher,” Callaway said.
This week’s camp began on Monday and goes through Thursday, and there were 20 LaGrange wrestlers participating in the first session of the week.
Most every other week during the summer LaGrange’s wrestlers will get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays for workouts.
“We practice Tuesday from 11 to 1,” Weathers said. “I did that to help out football. That way they get to go to football stuff and then come here. Thursday, we wrestle from 9 to 12.”
On those same days, there is also an evening session from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m., with assistant coach John Rich working with the wrestlers.
While a new season won’t begin until November, Weathers said the summer workouts are critical to long-term success.
“Summer wrestling makes winter champions,” Weathers said. “So it’s a big thing. We don’t kill them. It’s about teaching, and learning, and getting better.”