Carrollton grapplers gear up for Trojan Wars

BY MASON WITTNER
THE TIMES-GEORGIAN

The Carrollton High School wrestling team will host its annual Trojan Wars on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the East Carrollton Recreation Center.

The Trojans will enter the event with a bit of momentum on their side after triumphing over local rival Bremen, 42-39, in their dual on Wednesday night.

Bremen will be one of 11 other teams traveling to Carrollton for the event. The others are as follows: Adairsville, Armuchee, Calhoun, Lamar County, Model, Northwest Whitfield, Pepperell, South Paulding, Spain Park (Ala.) and Starr's Mill.

Every team participating will get five matches, meaning that each starter from the 12 participants will compete five times. Additionally, exhibition matches will be held between junior-varsity wrestlers from the schools in between varsity matches.

"Best seven dollars you can spend in this area on Saturday because we're going to have some of the best teams around there wrestling and getting after it in a great facility," Carrollton head coach Michael Cleek said. "I appreciate John Driver and Dottee Morton. They are wonderful to us at the Carrollton Parks and Recreation Department for letting us use that facility. I can't say enough about them."

This year Carrollton boasts a bottom-heavy roster chock full of young athletes who will be called upon to make meaningful contributions for the Trojans throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

"We are really young, as a varsity team goes. We have several freshmen who are going to be starting for us," Cleek said. "But they're really athletic, really motivated freshmen, so we're expecting big things out of them. We also have some upperclassmen that are returning that are quality."

Leading the pack of returners for Carrollton is sophomore Nate Butler, who Cleek praised for being a voice for his fellow underclassmen and helping show them the way. The Trojans also return four state qualifiers from a season ago in Kaleb Thomaston, Chase Sippola, Brock Bibbee and Brent Paravechio.

"We have some maturity on our team with the returning state qualifiers, but for the most part we're going to be really young," Cleek said. "We're mostly freshmen and sophomores, and we're going to have to learn as we go and get better."

With Thomaston, Sippola, Bibbee and the rest of the football players just rejoining the team this week after wrapping up a successful season on the gridiron, the Trojans are still in the process of meddling a cohesive bond and working together as a unit.

"Right now we're kind of just feeling our way, trying to feel the team and see who we've got," Cleek said. "We had a big win (Wednesday) night over Bremen, and that was all because we've had kids that have been dedicated and got out here just recruiting the halls and trying to get kids involved.

"Hats off to my mat coach and assistant head coach, Nick White, for doing a great job getting guys ready to go. Especially young guys who might not be schooled up."