They’ve had wrestlers in and out of the lineup all season, but as they head into the home stretch, everyone who is still on the team is ready to go.
The team has lost a handful of wrestlers to season-ending injuries, but 17 wrestlers remain, and all of them were in the wrestling room on Thursday and participating in the grueling practice session.
“This week, we finally had 17 guys in our room,” Troup head coach Chris Mitchem said. “That’s our team. We’ve lost five due to injuries, things like that. It happens. We finally got a wrestling room full with the guys who can practice.”
The Tigers have some big matches coming up.
On Saturday, some of Troup’s wrestlers will participate in a tournament at Whitewater High School, and some others will head to Collins Hill High for a junior-varsity dual tournament.
“We’re going to be bringing seven guys to (Collins Hill), and the rest of our guys, the other 10 guys go to Whitewater,” Mitchem said. “We feel who we sent to where is the best for that kid.”
Troup will then host the county championship on Tuesday, with Troup, Callaway and LaGrange fighting it out for the top spot.
That will also be senior night where the team’s lone seniors, Michael Mackfield and Cassidy Carden, will be honored.
After that, the Tigers will have a few more meets before the traditional area tournament on Feb. 2-3 at LaGrange High.
At the area tournament, the top four finishers in each weight class will qualify for the state tournament.
Mitchem wants to see his wrestlers continue to improve between now and then.
“That’s the whole thing we ask for,” Mitchem said. “We say every week, we want to see constant improvement from everybody, but definitely our young guys. We’ve seen it, and we’re proud of them.”
Mitchem, who was an assistant coach last year and in his first season as a head coach, said the goal for everyone is to get the program back where it used to be when Troup was dominating the state.
“We’re hoping to keep on building,” Mitchem said. “Our focus from the beginning of the year was to try to bring the tradition back. It takes time. It’s a lot of hard work by the kids. We’re trying to beat into them to leave their legacy, that we’re the group of kids who starting bringing the tradition back.”