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Troup wrestlers making progress

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s a change of pace for the Troup High wrestling team.

After strictly competing in dual-format events through the first month of the season, the Tigers will wrestle in a traditional-format tournament this weekend.

Troup, along with Callaway and LaGrange, will participate in the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament on Friday and Saturday at Central-Carroll High.

In a dual-format event it’s team vs. team, but in the traditional format, each individual wrestler has a chance to win a championship or earn a medal.

“That’s one of the great aspects of this sport is being able to have team success along with individual success,” said Drew Garner, Troup’s head coach.

Troup’s wrestlers, who have competed in three dual-format tournaments so far, have been getting a lot of work done in the practice room under the watchful eyes of Garner and the other coaches.

Wrestlers from Long Cane Middle School take part in the practices along with the high-school wrestlers, and Garner said that has been extremely helpful.

“We wanted to create competition,” Garner said. “Our eighth-graders are the ones pushing this whole program right now. We’ve got our eighth-graders that are beating our varsity kids, and it’s forcing our varsity kids to have to work harder.”

While the eighth-graders can’t wrestle in high-school events now, a year from now they’ll be students at Troup and ready to compete for a spot in the lineup.

“What we’re doing now is, we’re using that competition and we’re driving that motivation into our older kids,” Garner said. “We’re showing them that if you don’t work hard, there’s a kid coming up next year that’s willing to take your spot.”

As for the current high-school wrestlers, Garner has been pleased with the progress they’ve made.

“A lot of them are starting to come around,” Garner said. “Everybody on the team has progressed in some way, academically or athletically.”