Caleb Hannah is once again battling a war of attrition in his practice room, but the Temple High School head wrestling coach is determined to send a deep senior class out on a high note this winter.
The Tigers bring back nine seniors on the mats in 2017-18, led by a trio of state qualifiers in Bryson Gresham, John Austin Robinson and Preston Hulsey, as Robinson placed second at 160 pounds and Hulsey took third at 145 last year.
"Most all of our seniors are doing what they're supposed to do and doing a good job. Preston Hulsey and John Austin Robinson, we expect them to do very well at state. Bryson Gresham is a senior who is returning, as well, and he qualified last year," Hannah said. "All three of them are actually wrestling up from where they qualified last year. They've got a harder road ahead of them, but they're up for the task."
Along with the returning veterans, Hannah is looking for contributions from some newcomers to the program this year in freshmen Bryce Woolum, Danny Hulsey and Hunter Lewallen.
"We're looking for (Lewallen) and (Hulsey) to fill 106 and 113. Those are always two of the tougher weight classes to fill. So it's always good to have those locked up," Hannah said.
One of the more frustrating aspects to the season is having holes in the lineup to where Temple can't truly compete in a dual format, making it more of an individual focus for Hannah's grapplers.
"Being a double-A school, it's a win just to fill a team. I thought we had a good shot at it this year. We had a couple of key pieces not fall into place for us. Another year of forfeits is giving us a runaround, for sure," Hannah said.
The Tigers have been off for the holiday break and return to action on Jan. 3 when they host Heard County, Villa Rica and Bowdon for Senior Night.
Competing in their final home match of their careers, Hannah is hopeful of giving his seniors a strong push down the stretch of their final seasons with the program leading up to individual state in early February.
"I think they're disappointed that the team isn't good enough to where they can go do area duals and compete and get that full experience in their last year. They're really focused on helping me set the standard as they leave. Set the standard for what I expect and what I want," Hannah said of senior standouts Robinson and Hulsey. "They're doing a great job with that and they do a great job on the mat, as well."