Two Troup wrestlers sign to the compete at the collegiate level

Published 8:49 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

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A pair of Troup High wrestlers signed to the next level on Wednesday in front of friends and family. It was a joyous occasion for all those involved as Tim Dunn (Andrew College) and Averett Ellison (Brewton-Parker) signed to wrestle in college starting the fall.

“One day, I’m planning on writing a book about my journey as a coach and I can assure you both of these guys have been there some somewhere,” Troup wrestling coach Drew Gardner said.

Dunn has been one of the crown jewels of the program for the last few years. The senior finished his career as a back-to-back state runner-up and was a real leader for a program that was in a rebuild for much of his tenure.

“When you perform at that level everybody is looking at you, so you have to be a leader on the mats and in the classroom,” Dunn said. 

Dunn was a warrior on the mat. He never gave an inch, at times to his own detriment.

“[He] walked off the mat and said, ‘I don’t feel good’, sat down in the back hallway for about 30 minutes,” Gardner said of Dunn after he competed at the state championship earlier this year. “Come to find out later that Tim spent two days in the hospital after the state tournament because he didn’t tell anybody that he had suffered a concussion the week of. There’s tough, there’s Troup tough. And now there is TDT which is Tim Dunn tough.”

Gardner says that Dunn has been like a son to him and the respect between them is definitely a two-way street.

“He was always there to help me out and any challenges I’ve faced he has helped me overcome,” Dunn said. 

For Dunn, signing to wrestle in college is further affirmation of his talents and a long-held dream come true.

“I remember watching college wrestlers on TV when I first started wrestling and I knew that I wanted to be like them someday,” Dunn said. “It wasn’t just something that happened automatically, I had to put in the work to get here.”

On the flip side, Ellison never really thought he was a collegiate-level wrestler until he received a phone call from Brewton-Parker just a few weeks ago.

“This really popped up out of the blue for me because I didn’t plan to wrestle after high school,” Ellison said. “Brewton-Parker got in touch with me a few weeks ago and made me an offer that I couldn’t turn down.

“I was a little shocked when I first got the offer.”

It has been a steady rise for Ellison. Never the biggest or most naturally gifted, Ellison put in the work over the years to become a high-level wrestler. Everything began to click during his senior year as he began to tap into his full potential.

“I never won area or place at state until this year, everything kind of came together for me this season,” Ellison said.

Ellison went on a terrific run as a senior and finished fifth place at state but feels he should have finished third. 

“It took a little bit longer for him to see his own potential in the sport of wrestling,” Gardner said. “He may have been the biggest surprise not only for himself but the team and coaches as well this year. He really bought into the mindset of hard work, technique and helping others become the best versions of themselves

The senior is not looking back however and has his eyes on a reunion at Brewton-Parker. Troup alum Kullum Irvin is currently a wrestler on the team and helped recruit Ellison to become a Baron.

“I hadn’t seen Kullum in about two years before my visit, so I’m excited to get back on the mats together,” Ellison said. “Kullum really helped convince me to come there.”