Richardson, a LaGrange High wrestler, was forced to the sidelines at the start of the season because of a disciplinary issue.
When Richardson returned to the team, he wanted to make the most of his time, and he has.
Richardson has posted a 10-2 record, and he has finished second in tournaments at Smiths Station and Bowdon.
Richardson is one of four LaGrange seniors who will be on the mat for Saturday’s Area 5-AAAA tournament at LaGrange High.
The other seniors are Hunter Patton, Devonta Williams and Logan Pitts.
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state sectionals.
Richardson has worked hard to be as ready as he can be for Saturday’s tournament.
“I got in trouble in the first part of the season, and I couldn’t participate in wrestling,” Richardson said. “So, I knew when I came back I was going to have to make the most of the last two months. I was ready for it. I’ve been able to put a lot of hours into practicing to be where I want to be.”
Richardson looks to be a solid bet to finish in the top four in his 160-pound weight class and advance to the state sectionals, and he could end up facing a Carrollton wrestler in the championship round.
“I’m just focused on practicing for that match. He’s my goal,” Richardson said. “I think I can beat everybody else.”
Richardson added that “It’s nerve-wracking for sure,” to have his whole season come down to one day, but he said “I’m ready for it. I’m hungry for it.”
Pitts is also anxiously awaiting Saturday’s tournament, especially after he missed the area duals because he missed his weight.
“I was a couple of ounces over,” Pitts said. “I didn’t get to wrestle at area duals.”
Pitts should be one of the wrestlers to beat at 182 pounds after a strong season.
Pitts has an 18-6 record, and that includes a second-place finish at the Bowdon tournament, a third-place finish at the Smiths Station tournament, and a fourth-place finish at the Chattahoochee River Wrestling Association.
Pitts heads into Saturday with plenty of confidence after back-to-back top three finishes in tournaments.
“I’m planning on going out there and finishing first,” Pitts said.
This week, Pitts said it’s all about “just drilling the moves that you know, getting those down pat.”
Patton, who has an 8-3 record this season at 145 pounds, brings plenty of experience to the mat on Saturday.
He’s a veteran, and he’s been to the state meet before, so he knows what the pressure is all about.
“I’ve had the experience of wrestling at state,” he said. “I know how much fun it is. It makes you want it even more.”
Patton said his biggest concern at the moment is making sure he meets his weight since he’s slightly over, but he expects to be on weight by Saturday.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Patton said. “I have a couple of things I need to polish up on. I’m actually going to stay as late as I can tonight so I can tighten up on my stuff.”
The one LaGrange wrestler who heads into Saturday with a tournament victory under his belt this season is Williams.
Williams finished first in a tournament at Landmark Christian earlier this season, and he also finished fourth at the Silva Invitational and the Bowdon tournament while posting a 20-6 record.
Williams doesn’t feel he’s been at his best of late, though.
“For the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been doing as well as I could,” Williams said. “It’s not like the way I was wrestling at the beginning of the season. I’m just trying to get back to where I was. You want to be wrestling your best.”
Williams does bring some momentum into Saturday after getting a big win on Tuesday when he beat a Heard County wrestler on a major decision in the final match.
LaGrange won by one point.
Williams had his team’s fate resting in his hands, although he didn’t know that at the time.
“I didn’t know until after,” he said. “When I heard that, I was like, ‘oh yeah.’ ”
Weathers said all four seniors have been critical to the program’s success the past four seasons.
“They are important,” Weathers said. “They’re a big part of what we’ve done. I’d like to see them go out with a bang on Saturday, that’s for sure.”
In addition to the four seniors, LaGrange has a number of other wrestlers who should make a strong showing on Saturday, including sophomore Garrett Godby (106 pounds), who has a 24-6 record and leads the team in wins.
Qua Tucker has a 20-11 record at 132 pounds, Kyler Hall is 19-7 at 138 pounds, Dexter Jones is 14-7 at 152 pounds, Jacob Butler is 10-5 at 170 pounds, Guy Wegienka is 9-2 at 195 pounds, and Emanuel Mann is 15-10 at 285 pounds.
Some of the other more inexperienced wrestlers have struggled this season, but Weathers said they’ve learned a lot, and Saturday could be the day when it all comes together for them.
“I’ve seen some things start clicking a little bit,” Weathers said. “It’s the one sport where what you put in you get out. You have to work at it, you have to practice. You drill your stuff, do what you do best and stick to it.”