Troup senior providing leadership
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
The Troup Tigers are off and running.
A new wrestling season began last week, with Troup participating in a tournament at Alexander High before hosting a four-team dual event on Wednesday.
After going 3-2 in the Alexander Duals, Troup won three of its four matches on Wednesday, and that included a victory over rival LaGrange.
It’s a team with a lot of new faces in the lineup, as well as a handful of veterans, including Thomas Fuller, who is doing what he can to help his inexperienced teammates.
“We’ve got a few freshmen that are real talented,” Fuller said. “I just want to help them learn how to drill. Some freshmen I can help with their technique. Some freshmen already have it. My job is to help with whatever they need.”
Fuller, who had a successful junior season that ended in the state sectional, is making sure to set an example in the practice room.
“Coach (Drew Garner) pointed out that I’m not a very vocal leader, but I lead by example,” Fuller said. “He always says watch the two people in the middle drill, and I’m one of the two people.”
A year ago, Fuller came up just short of his goal of making it to Macon for the state finals.
Fuller did qualify for the state sectional, and he was one victory away from earning a spot in Macon.
“Last season was the closest I came,” Fuller said. “I got to sectionals and I was one match off.”
Fuller has been giving it his all since summer workouts began in June with the idea of getting to the state finals.
“I’ve been going non-stop since June 8,” Fuller said. “I’ve used every opportunity to get better, because I want to (get to Macon).”
On Thursday, Troup beat Pace Academy and LaGrange and lost to Harris County in the final match of the day.
Wyatt Turner kicked things off for Troup at 106 pounds, and Tyshawn Milton (113 pounds), Brayden Hutchins (120 pounds), Brayden Bowen (126 pounds), Dylan Hays (132 pounds), Franklin Jackson (138 pounds), Tim Dunn (145 pounds), Noah Atkinson (152 pounds), Ky’shaad Patterson (182 pounds), Christian Wood (195 pounds), Taylor Smith (220 pounds) and Braylon Hardy (285 pounds) completed the lineup.
While there’s plenty of inexperience on the team, coach Drew Garner likes the fact that he’ll be able to have a complete lineup in most matches.
At the moment, Troup is missing a handful of wrestlers who are on the football team and preparing for Saturday’s state-playoff opener against Benedictine in Savannah.
“Last year was super-hard. We were missing so many,” Garner said. “This year is fun because we’ve got a full team, so the anticipation is growing with the possibilities.”
As for these early-season matches, Garner said “it’s all about getting better.”
Troup will host Russell County on Tuesday before heading to Smiths Station on Thursday for a meet.