The Commerce Tiger wrestling team dominated the state duals in Macon.
Now, the team looks to keep the momentum rolling with individual performances as the Tigers host the Area 4-A traditional tournament this Friday and Saturday.
The top-four finishers in each weight class advance to the sectional tournament at Holy Innocents.
“We’re excited about it,” head coach Kendall Love said. “It’s a win or go home at this point.”
Love said the team has worked hard, and their schedule proves it. The Tigers traveled to Tennessee (twice) and Minnesota (once). They also competed in several invitationals with all classifications represented.
“We know it’s going to be tougher this year, because a lot of teams from Class AA dropped down,” he said.
Teams in the area includes: Athens Academy, Athens Christian, Holy Innocents, Mt. Vernon and Wesleyan, whom Commerce defeated in the finals of the state duals.
The past two seasons, the Tigers advanced wrestlers in all 14 weight classes. Last season, they claimed all 14 area titles.
“We’ve got a target on our back,” Love said. “Everybody feels like to win an area title, they have to beat a Commerce kid, because we had 14 area champions last year.
“That’s a feat that doesn’t happen often. It’d be nice for it to happen again, but it’s definitely going to be a tougher job for us to do this year because the area is so much tougher.”
Love is emphasizing to his team to “stay focused.”
“That’s the main thing right now. They know the wrestling. They’re in good shape,” Love said.
Love doesn’t want prior success to affect the wrestlers’ mental aspect.
“That’s part of why we’ve had the schedule we’ve had, to get them beat some and let them know there’s still work to get done,” Love said. “They continue to work hard and I don’t think they’re overlooking anybody. I think we’ll be ready to go this weekend.”
It is also the first home meet for Commerce this season. Love said being at home is “very important.”
“I hope our fans come out and I know the guys are excited to wrestle at home,” Love said. “Maybe more folks can get to see the hard work they put in this year.”