CARROLLTON – He took nothing for granted.
Earlier this season, Troup’s Jeremiah McClendon faced Trevor Rose of Alexander, and he won easily with a pin in the first period.
On Saturday, McClendon and Rose met again, this time in the 138-pound championship match of the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association tournament that was held at Central-Carroll High School.
“I wasn’t underestimating him,” McClendon said. “I saw his matches (Friday), and he looked pretty tough, so I was just getting prepared.”
McClendon made sure the rematch followed the same script.
In the first period, McClendon pinned Rose to give the Tigers one of their two individual championships, with Dakota Wilson winning the other one at 126 pounds.
That was part of a successful tournament for the Tigers.
Nine members of the team placed, five of them wrestled for a title, and there were the two individual champions.
Troup finished second in the 14-team field, with Alexander capturing the top spot.
“It was a good weekend all in all,” Troup coach Craig Garner said. “We knew going in that we were probably fighting for second place. We knew that Alexander was going to be good.”
Troup was short-handed, with five men who likely would have been in the varsity starting lineup unable to go for various reasons.
Earlier this season, Troup and Alexander met in a dual match, and it was a close one.
The Tigers earned more points on the mat, but they were docked one point for an unsportsmanlike penalty, so it ended up in a tie, and Alexander ended up winning based on tie-breaker criteria.
“With our full lineup, I feel like we would have beat them,” Garner said.
Wilson and McClendon both had dominant weekends.
After winning his first two matches, McClendon beat LaGrange’s Chase Sams to reach the championship round.
In the title match, McClendon came out strong, and he never let up and ended up pinning Rose early on.
While happy with the win, McClendon said he still has some work to do before he’s at his peak.
“I just need to get more conditioning, and then I think I’ll be really solid,” McClendon said.
Wilson had no trouble with his opponent in the finals.
Opposite Wilson in the championship match was Colton Kelly of Central-Carroll, who was over-matched.
Kelly managed to avoid getting pinned, but Wilson surged to a 4-0 lear after the first period, and he was in control the whole way en route to a 16-5 win.
“I felt like that was the best I’ve been on top all year,” Wilson said. “I felt good, and I didn’t get really tired. I felt like practice helped out. We had a really good week of practice.”
Three other Troup wrestlers made it through to the championship round.
That group included 106-pounder Steven McClendon, who beat Callaway’s Brandon Belton in the semifinals to earn a spot against Alexander’s London Dubroc in the title match.
The match went the distance, with Dubroc getting the win on points.
At 152 pounds, Trey Harris reached the championship match after getting a win over Callaway’s Matthew Wingate in the semifinals.
Harris hung tough with Derek Whitmore of Northgate, but he ended up falling short 8-2.
Byron Butts edged Pike County’s Cody McKinney 3-2 in the 160-pound semifinals to earn his championship shot, and he ended up losing to Sam Allbritton of Alexander in the finals.
At 113 pounds, Trevor Upchurch won his first match before losing his next one, but he rallied to win his next match to finish third.
Also finishing third for Troup was Scott Hicks, who lost his second match before winning his next two to finish with a 3-1 record at 145 pounds.
Brantly Robinson gave Troup a fourth-place finish at 132 pounds, and Colby Harry was fourth at 285 pounds.
Troup will return to the mat on Friday for the start of a two-day tournament at Whitewater High School.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports