Right from the start they know what they want and expect.
“We can win the state title. We have a special team,” said Trevor Upchurch, who is one of six seniors on this year’s Troup High wrestling team.
The Tigers are building up some steam and esteem. In their first four matches of the season, Troup High won three times with victories over East Coweta, Clarke Central from Athens and Hillgrove.
Troup High’s only loss was to Ola. The Tigers are off to a decent start, but this is only the beginning for a Troup High team that has more ribs to barbecue.
“We expect perfection. We are buying into the (THS) program. We are sacrificing, and we want to be gritty and mean,” said Troup High senior wrestler Scott Hicks, a guy who is coming off a 44-8 season (40 pins).
Chase Seals, another of those seasoned grapplers for the Tigers, wants to take the next step as a team and an individual. Troup High finished fourth in the state duals last winter. Seals was the state runner-up as well in the 132-pound weight class at the Traditional Class AAAA state meet.
Since then, Seals has filled out and has added some bulk and muscles. Seals has never been a better wrestler. Most of all he wants to win. But the Tiger team goal of reaching the wrestling mountain top is what all of the THS guys are shooting for.
Seals thinks that is reachable, too, with 12 Troup High returnees from last year’s 39-4 team. Seals and the Tigers are ready to rumble.
“We have depth, and we’re getting in shape. We are doing the little things – like running. We want to get better,” said Seals, a wrestler with a goal-oriented past, including a 58-2 individual record with 37 pins from last season.
But Seals is just the tip of the winter iceburg for the Tigers. Seals isn’t the only wrestling talent for Troup High School.
The Tigers do return an avalanche of varsity experience with junior Pearson Strickland (113 pounds), junior Darious Hanson (126 pounds), Trevor Upchurch (132 pounds), sophomore Cade Garner, Chase Seals (152 pounds), Scott Hicks (160 pounds), junior Graham Finlay (170 pounds), sophomore Josh Tidwell (182 pounds), senior Quinten Kersey (195 pounds), senior Byron Butts (220 pounds), sophomore Michael Irvin (220 pounds) and junior heavyweight Colby Harry.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we have the overall experience. We have more guys. We have some great competition (for starting mat time),” said Tigers head coach Craig Garner. “We are getting back to old school Troup wrestling. Our guys are still finding their leadership roles.”
The Tigers are going for the gusto and the pins. But they are doing it one move at a time. And it all begins in the steamy, sweaty wrestling room at Troup High.
There are no excuses in there.
“We’re working on our basics and fundamentals,” said Troup High assistant coach Drew Garner.
For the Tigers this is a competition and a repetition. The Troup High wrestlers work their moves until they get them right.