Troup’s Irvin fights to the end
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The thought of quitting never crossed his mind.
Troup’s Michael Irvin has been dealing with a shoulder injury all season, but it hasn’t kept him off the wrestling mat.
Irvin, who was a standout offensive lineman for the Troup football team before making the transition to wrestling, finished second in the Area 5-AAAA traditional tournament on Saturday to qualify for the state sectional.
The top performers at the state sectional will advance to the state finals in Macon.
Irvin will be joined at the state sectional by four of his teammates, each of whom finished fourth or higher at the area tournament.
One of those four wrestlers is sophomore Kullum Irvin, Michael Irvin’s younger brother.
Irvin has been dealing with the shoulder issue since football, but he hasn’t let him slow him down, and he’s been a leader on a team without much experience.
“I try to stay with a lot of them, and just tell them just keep working,” Irvin said. “It’s been a hard season with a lot of losses, but to become a great winner, a champion, you’ve got to take some losses.”
For Irvin, while the shoulder injury has been frustrating, he’s been committed to completing what he started.
“I always said if I start something, I might as well finish it,” Irvin said. “There’s no reason for me to quit now and give up on my coaches. They never gave up on me.”
On Saturday, Irvin beat Cedartown’s Kobe Holloway 3-1 in the semifinals before losing to Cartersville’s Shadre Hurst in the finals.
It was a tough loss, but Irvin is eager for the next challenge.
“I’m looking forward to (the sectional),” Irvin said. “Hopefully I can improve on some areas, and just get better on my technique, and just work on what I need to work on.”
Two other Troup wrestlers also reached the championship match before falling short.
At 106 pounds, freshman Camden Roberts handled Cedartown’s Bryson Dooley before losing to Central-Carroll’s Reid Shope in the finals.
At 132 pounds, Thomas Fuller had to win two matches to reach the finals, and that included a dramatic 13-12 win over Cartersville’s Joshua Alvarez in the second round.
In the finals, Fuller lost to Central-Carroll’s C.J. Shadinger.
Josh Tunnell (120 pounds) and Kullum Irvin (145 pounds) both finished fourth to earn a sectional invitation.
Senior Mason Lumpkin will be a state alternate after finishing fifth at 138 pounds.