Coach Kurt Napier has had more than his share of battles this year when it comes to fielding a full lineup.
On a team that already had a thin roster, injuries and illnesses diminished things even further.
The Cavaliers were so short-handed that they didn’t compete in the area duals on Jan. 4, with Napier deciding to keep the team at home.
Had Callaway gone, it would have filled about half of the weight classes, making it an extreme longshot to win a match because of the forfeits.
“It was kind of a last-minute decision,” Napier said of the canceled trip. “We were already (short-handed), but a few days before the meet during practice, we had three guys get hurt. It wasn’t impossible for us to win a match with the numbers we had. It was a better decision for us.”
Napier said the decision to stay home allowed team members to catch a breath, and more importantly, get healed up.
Now, most of the remaining meets are individual events where wrestlers will have the opportunity to advance on their own merits.
Callaway has three individual dual events coming up, the first this weekend at the Last Man Standing tournament at Eagles Landing High School in McDonough.
Callaway will then compete in the county championship on Tuesday, and the Bowdon Invitational the following weekend.
That’ll lead into the traditional area tournament at Central-Carroll, where the top four finishers in each weight class will advance to state.
“We’ve got a lot coming up soon,” Napier said. “I think we have about nine weight classes right now. The good thing is from here on out except for county classic, everything is an individual tournament. We’ve been trying to take each individual person and help them grow in practice and not worry so much about team points and stuff that we can’t control and try and get better.”
Napier said the spirit of the team has remained high throughout as most of the athletes understand what they’ve been up against all season, and he said the wrestlers understood the decision not to compete in the area duals.
“That was something that concerned me,” Napier said. “I was just about willing to do anything to take them up there and experience the area duals. I had a team talk with them and made sure they understand that everything coming up was individual and that they all had their chance to make it to state and be successful this year. Everybody has still been showing up to practice. We didn’t lose anybody because of that. We’ve been trying to have fun at practice lately and try to change up the routine a little bit and have some fun.”