Reputations are made and changed at tournaments like the Area Traditional wrestling meet.
Chase Seals, the two-time area champion, certainly hopes so. The Troup High junior has been there and done that. Winning the area title never gets old for the 138-pound Seals.
“We won the Area Duals (not long ago), but this is the biggest one to come,” Seals said of the Area Traditional Tournament.
This Saturday’s meet will get underway at 9:30 a.m. at LaGrange High. Anybody could come out of the pack to win the Area team championship, including Central Carrollton, Sandy Creek, Cartersville, LaGrange, Woodward Academy or Troup.
Everything is earned. Nothing is a given at the Area Traditional Tournament. And yes, even the Troup Tigers, the fourth place team in the State Duals two weeks ago, have something to prove.
“We have a chip on our shoulders. But we have chemistry, and we have put in a lot more work,” said Byron Butts, who will suit up in the 182-pound division for Troup High.
Quenton Kersey will be in the starting lineup for the Tigers, too. Kersey will wrestle in the 195-pound weight class.
“I want first in the Area,” said Kersey.
Don’t they all?
Brantley Robinson gives the Tigers from Troup High another legitimate chance at an individual title at the Area meet. Robinson, a junior, will compete in the 126-pound division. He has never won an Area Traditional championship.
But Robinson is urgently looking for one this Saturday. The Area finals will start at 4 p.m. in the Granger gymnasium.
“You have to be mentally prepared. The Area Tournament determines how well you will do the rest of the year,” said Brantley.
Only the top four wrestlers in each weight division will advance to the Sectional Tournament, scheduled for Feb. 3-4 at Woodward Academy in College Park.
“You need confidence and experience,” said Robinson.
The successful teams also need seasoned coaches like Troup’s Craig Garner and Carson Dempsey. They are essential like catsup on the hamburger.
And the Tiger coaches do like Troup’s chances at winning some team glory and some individual weight division titles this Saturday.
“We’re jelling and bonding. We have paid the price. But we’re going to need techniques and heart (in the Area meet),” said Dempsey, the two-time state wrestling medalist at Troup High (2004-05).
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer