Elizabethton proves tough on home mat

By Ivan Sanders

It's not often that a wrestling match focuses on a single match with a proven grappler and a wrestler getting ready to make a debut performance -- unless that wrestler making a debut is a female.
   That was the case at Treadway Gym on Thursday night, as the Cyclones took two matches on the mat from Chuckey-Doak and David Crockett in a tri-meet.
   The Cyclones opened their evening against Chuckey-Doak, with the Cyclones taking the victory 42-27. The most intriguing matchup pitted Daniel Sochalski, who is having an outstanding junior campaign, against Brandi Hensley, wrestling her first match ever.
   "I know there are not a lot of girls that wrestle," said Hensley after her matchup. "I know these guys baby me in practice, but I really do want to win and make it to state."
   Sochalski, who sports a 27-6 record, is ranked in the elite wrestlers at the 103 weight class in this region. It still was difficult to enter a match with the same focus as Sochalski is accustomed to.
   "It's a no-win situation to wrestle a girl because you are suppose to win and if you lose then people give you a hard time because you lost to a girl," stated Sochalski. "You have to be careful what you do, and just wrestle with the techniques you learn in practice."
   By the way, Sochalski pinned Hensley at the 1:45 mark of the first period.
   In other action, John Ross dropped a tough decision to Christopher Olson 4-0 in the 119 class. Olson finished second at the GIT Tourney this past weekend behind last year's state champ.
   Andy Ross, John's brother, notched another victory with a pin of Matt Ricker in the 130 class with two seconds left in period one.
   Patrick Jenkins and Bryan Bradshaw each recorded victories with a pinfall of their opponents. Jenkins defeated Chris Babb in the 135 class, while Bradshaw put Matt McCombs shoulders to the mat with :25 left in the first period in the 189 class.
   Buddy Puckett, in the 215 class, and Michael Eggers, in the 160 class, both wrestled tough matches before going down by pinfall.
   In the second match of the night, the Cyclones defeated David Crockett 48-24, with only four out of 14 weight classes in battle.
   Andy Ross picked up win number two of the evening, pinning Timmy Blankenship at the 1:10 mark of period one in the 130 class.
   Josh Fair saw his only action of the evening, be it a short stint, pinning Kenny Engram with 56 seconds left in the first for a victory in the 152 class.
   Bradshaw went against a taller opponent in David Garner of the Pioneers in the 189 class. Garner would collect a pinfall at 1:12 of the second period.
   Puckett squared off against Ben Rodefer of Crockett at 215, losing by pinfall with :37 left in period one.
   "Obviously, even though we had numerous forfeits on both sides, I am pleased with the performance of the guys tonight," stated head coach Bill Potter of the Cyclones. "The matches we did wrestle, I thought were wrestled like they were suppose to be."
   Potter was asked about having a female wrestle: "I know there is a tough girl wrestler from Cumberland County who qualified for state last year, and she is tough. I do think it is a distraction to the guys because they wrestle differently than they are accustomed to."
   Potter feels his team is about the point it was anticipated to be at this stage of the season.
   "We are 10-9 on the season, and I figure we can finish out .500 on the year," stated Potter. "We still have several wrestlers who can go on and qualify for the state level this year."
   The Cyclones pack their equipment for another road trip to Knoxville this Saturday to participate in a tournament at South Doyle against some quality opponents including Seymour and Chattanooga-Notre Dame.
   The Cyclones have done well in road tournaments, including last weeks GIT tournament in Greeneville against top teams from Tennessee and Kentucky.
   "We placed three wrestlers and could have had five if it had not been for some questionable officiating," stated Potter about the GIT.
   The season record of the Cyclone grapplers, including Thursday's action looks like this:
   103: Daniel Sochalski 27-6
   119: John Ross 17-15
   130: Andy Ross 24-9
   135: Patrick Jenkins 25-13
   145: Mitch Cornett 12-18
   152: Josh Fair 30-5
   160: Michael Eggers 7-18
   171: Derrick Adkins 1-1
   189: Bryan Bradshaw 12-17
   215: Buddy Puckett 5-13