Troup wrestlers chasing titles
Published 1:11 am Wednesday, January 30, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Some current Troup wrestlers are hoping to follow in the footsteps of their former teammates and make it to the big stage in Macon.
It’s a realistic goal for some of the Tigers, including three men who placed at state last season.
Darious Hanson, Pearson Strickland and Colby Harry all placed at state a year ago, and they’ve enjoyed strong 2018-2019 seasons.
Last weekend, those three men were among Troup’s placers at the Last Man Standing tournament at Ola High School.
Hanson took the top spot at 132 pounds while winning his second tournament of the season.
Strickland made it to the championship match at 126 pounds, and he lost to a wrestler from Ola who has won back-to-back state titles.
Harry was third at 285 pounds, and freshman Kullum Irvin placed fourth at 145 pounds.
Also for Troup, Dylan Hayes (120 pounds) was seventh, and Thomas Fuller (152 pounds) was eighth.
Those wrestlers will be at Central-Carroll on Saturday for the Area 5-AAAA traditional tournament.
The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the state sectional.
The top eight finishers in each of the two sectionals will advance to the state finals in Macon.
Hanson will be one of the favorites to win it all in his 132-pound weight class.
In addition to his win last weekend, Hanson also won the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament, and he was second in a tournament at Woodward Academy.
Hanson’s hope is that those events will help prepare him for the critical matches coming up the next few weeks.
“That’s what it’s about for me,” Hanson said. “The main goal is for me to be at my best, and these prepare for me to be at my highest level.”
Hanson had a strong showing at state last season, and while he was happy to place, it’s all about being the man on the top of the podium this year.
“That’s always been my goal since seventh grade,” Hanson said. “Hopefully I can win.”
Another Troup wrestler eyeing a championship is Strickland, who won the CRWA tournament and finished second at Woodward Academy.
It’s been an exceptional season for Strickland, and he’s ready to try to chase down a state title.
“That’s been my goal for four years,” Strickland said. “This year, you can kind of see it coming true I guess. Of course that’s my goal. Everything’s kind of falling into place.”
On the opposite end of the experience spectrum is Kullum Irvin, a freshman who had a strong showing at the Last Man Standing tournament.
“You can always get better,” Irvin said. “I feel like I’ve got room for improvement, but I feel like I’m really strong right now.”
It’s been a long season, and coach Tripp Busby said it’s important for everyone to continue to fight hard until the final matches have been contested.
“It’s a grind, but you have to push through all that, and still find fun in the day-to-day activities that it takes to continue on,” Busby said.