Cyclones prep for regionals

By Ivan Sanders

It's that time of year to find out if the sweat from running five miles, the blood shed during battle, and the tears of losing a close match have paid any dividends.
   On Friday evening and all day Saturday, 13 teams from the region will square off on the mats of Jefferson County High School in Dandridge to see which individuals will qualify for the state wrestling tournament.
   The Elizabethton Cyclones under the tutelage of coach Bill Potter have all the right stuff to make some noise in the tournament if the Cyclone grapplers wrestle with the right kind of heart and intensity.
   "We have the opportunity to qualify several kids for state competition," stated Coach Potter. "It really all depends upon if these guys wrestle up to their ability."
   The Cyclones had four wrestlers seeded in the tournament. Junior Daniel Sochalski enters the 103 weight class as the number two seed with a record of 35-8.
   Junior Andy Ross received the third seed in the 130 class sporting a record of 34-10. Patrick Jenkins received the fourth seed in the 135 class. Jenkins record stands at 29-18.
   Josh Fair, the only senior grappler, was rewarded for his outstanding season by receiving the number one ranking in the 152 class. Fair's season record stands at 39-6.
   Fair knows that a large bulls-eye has been painted on his chest with the ranking, but past tournament competition should have him prepared for what lies ahead.
   Stated Fair: "I know that being the only senior means that I have to go out there and show the guys by example. I've been here before, so I realize what it takes to advance on to the state level."
   Science Hill, entering the regional ranked eighth in the state, is loaded with quality grapplers as well as Jefferson County and Dobyns-Bennett.
   "Every team in the regional has at least one, maybe two wrestlers who has the potential to qualify for state," stated Potter. "The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance, so you just gotta work to position yourself to be in the top four."
   Sochalski has a great bracket for the tournament, as he received a bye all the way to the semi-final round. His semi-opponent will be a familiar one in Scott Snapp of Science Hill, who Sochalski has defeated twice this year.
   "The toughest thing for me is going to be making weight," stated Sochalcksi. " I have Friday night off so that will help and I should be able to make it without any problem."
   Andy Ross is another tough Cyclone wrestler who will be looking to avenge some close losses to wrestlers who Ross pushed to the limit in earlier matches.
   Said Ross: "My strategy for the regionals will be to put everything together I've learned this year and wrestle the best matches that I have ever wrestled. I'm going down there with a goal to win."
   Several Cyclone grapplers may catch their opponents off guard. Two of those are David Sayers in the 140 class and Michael Eggers in the 160 class.
   "Michael Eggers has grown by leaps and bounds within the last month," stated Potter. "David Sayers is another kid that has come on strong of late for us and could catch some off guard."
   Other wrestlers who have an opportunity of qualifying for state include John Ross in the 119 class, Mitch Cornett at 145, Bryan Bradshaw at 189, and Buddy Puckett in the 215 class.
   The Cyclones will enter the regional with one philosophy: Relax.
   Commented Potter: "It's not about winning or losing. It's about relaxing and wrestling to your abilities. The rest will take care of itself. I really feel good about our chances."
   The tournament will begin at 6 PM on Friday and will resume again on Saturday at 10:30 AM. The finals should begin around 4:30 PM on Saturday afternoon.