'Betsy grapplers holding tight midseason grip

By Ivan Sanders

   For the first time in the history of the Elizabethton wrestling program, the Cyclone wrestling team cannot be overlooked. They have proven that with a tremendous record of 10-3 team record as they have reached the midpoint of the 2002-'03 season.
   "We have done really well through our early schedule," stated Coach Bill Potter. " The thing is we have not even put together our best matches yet because we just haven't wrestled as intense as we need to."
   Elizabethton squared off against Chuckey-Doak and West Greene on Monday night at West Greene where they solidly defeated both teams by lopsided scores. West Greene was pinned with a 60-12 defeat by the Cyclones while Chuckey-Doak succumbed to EHS by a score of 66-12.
   Said Potter: "The thing about wrestling is we have a very abbreviated season. By the first week of February, we will be in regional action at Greeneville so we need to really kick in our intensity level right now. Our conditioning is great, but our work habits have slipped a bit therefore the intensity is not where it needs to be."
   According to Potter, wrestling can be considered the only sport that is really fair. From watching the sport, it doesn't take long for even the novice of fans to pick up on the fact that either opponent has the chance to walk away victorious.
   "You can take a guy that has worked extremely hard and maybe not the most talented wrestler and pit him against a talented wrestler that lacks in work habits and the kid with less talent can come away with a victory simply by his work habits," said Potter. "All there is that separates a win from a loss is one move anyway."
   The Cyclones have been a close-knit bunch this year and the team has gelled as a result. Several wrestlers, including Andy Ross and David Sayers have been rock-solid all season with the two combining for a win-loss mark of 35-7.
   Potter feels that this could be the orange and black's year as far as qualifying wrestlers for state competition if all the pieces of the puzzle continue to come together.
   "If we wrestle to perfection in the regional we have the opportunity to qualify 10 wrestlers for the state tournament," stated Potter. "I feel good about these guys and I know if we can get it cranked up right now, we will be ready to get the job done."
   The Cyclones, at this point of the season, have put in a lot of hard work and it has shown as a result of their success on the mats. How far they can advance will depend upon a couple of key areas that Potter likes to focus on.
   "Wrestling, contrary to popular belief, isn't all in the physicalness of the sport, but is the 90 percent mental aspect while on the mat," quipped Potter. "If you put in the work and don't quit on yourself or your teammates, you can realize the rewards of your effort."
   Elizabethton will travel to Daniel Boone on Thursday to tangle with Dobyns-Bennett and host Boone. On Saturday, the Cyclones travel to Knoxville where they will compete in the Cherokee Invitational at South Doyle High School.
   Said Potter: "We finished fourth at Knoxville last year out of 16 teams which was fantastic. I feel like we can place high again if these guys will wrestle like they are capable of. It should be a very good tournament."
   After completion of these two matches, the Cyclones have only four remaining before heading into regional action. If the second half of the season plays out like the first, this year's team may set a high precedent for future wrestlers at Elizabethton.
   It will not fall on the shoulders of their opponents to help the Cyclones achieve a higher standard. The final outcome depends on whether the Cyclones can reach the intensity level their coach feels is necessary for success down the road, and that all starts on the practice mats.