Cyclone wrestlers break even in 'Rumble'

By Kim Richardson
STAR Correspondent

   Elizabethton's wrestlers fought the good fight, according to Coach Bill Potter. The Cyclones won two and lost two while competing in the "Rumble in the Jungle" last Saturday at Treadway Gym.
   "We did OK," stated Coach Potter. "We have a pretty good group, a group of young men that train hard and take on all comers -- a very competitive group"
   But that might be selling the Cyclones a little short, especially when one considers the competition. There were seven teams represented at the "Rumble in the Mountains," and the Cyclones went up against some of, not only the best teams in their respective state, but as well, some of the best teams and individuals in the nation. 
   Consider Wayne County. It's a top-ten ranked team from the state of Kentucky. Then there's Christiansburg, not only highly rated in its home state of Virginia, but a 20 team nationally. 
   Huntington, W.Va. isn't your average, run-of-the-mill, fly-by-night pushover either. It's not quite as highly ranked as Christiansburg; but being ranked number two in their state, and 48th nationally isn't so bad.
   The Cyclones defeated Wayne County and Holston High, located near beautiful Damascus, Va., but lost to Christiansburg and Huntington.
   Coach Potter speaks proudly of his team, and of the individuals who comprise the Cyclones.
   "They're a great group to coach," stated Potter. "They put in so much hard work," Potter said, just after sending his wrestlers for a 40- minute run Thursday. And that -- the run -- is but a part of the entire practice session.
   "So much of this is up to the individual; in that regard, we're a little like a track team," Potter said. "He, the individual, responds well to instruction. We get them as ready as we can, but when match play begins, it's up to him to dig deep within, to strive to excel."
   Those of us who have wrestled out in the back yard during much younger days can relate to the personal challenge of competing against childhood friends and neighbors. But the opposition in this sport is very tough, so much different than the backyard brawls of days-gone-by. 
   In team wrestling there is of course the pressure of winning and standing out as an individual, but with the added realization that you're fighting for much more than yourself. The result of your match can literally determine your team's outcome. 
   Elizabethton has a rich history in this sport, and if their performance last weekend at the "Rumble" is any indication, it will be ready to mix it up with the area's best as the season progresses.
   "There are no classifications to consider," stated Potter. "And that's the way we prepare our wrestlers. We don't have the luxury to pick and choose our opponents, either individually or team-wise. We remind him that he has to wrestle against the other team's best in his weight class. Whether it's Holston or Science Hill, our young men have to be prepared to beat the other team's best."
   Those young men coach Potter speak of include some pretty good wrestlers as well: Tyler Ross, John Ross, Heath Honeycutt, Zach Gilliam, Corey Henson, Chris Hubbard, Patrick Jenkins, Mitch Cornett, Justin Chizmar, Justin Harmon, Zack Potter and Jarrett Taylor comprise this season's Cyclone wrestling team. 
   Saturday's match against East Henderson Quad, in Hendersonville, N.C. had to be cancelled. The Cyclones are back on the road Monday against Science Hill.