Cyclones look for state berths on mats

By Ivan Sanders

   The season began with a 0-0 record individually for the Elizabethton Cyclone wrestling team and after adding to both sides of the column over the course of the season, those records will be reset to 0-0 again as they begin the second season today and Saturday at Greeneville High School.
   The regional wrestling tournament will feature 14 teams vying for four spots in each weight category for a berth to the 2003 Tennessee State wrestling championship.
   "We've had a good week of practice and I really think these guys are ready to step up and do what they are capable of doing," said an anticipating Cyclone grappler coach Bill Potter. "They have been running for conditioning, getting in lots of mat work, and working on situations that we don't necessarily get the opportunity to do in the regular season this past week and I think they have the right stuff to get the job done."
   Headlining the Cyclone grapplers who have an opportunity to advance to state competition will be Andy Ross in the 125-pound weight class who will be favored to take the regional title in that class. Ross's chief competitor will be Cameron Felty of Daniel Boone, but at this stage Ross will not be able to overlook any competitor.
   "When you come to this stage, it all comes down to who wants it more," said Potter. "Andy proved that in his sophomore year when he came onto the scene little known, but ended up making some noise at this portion of the season."
   Others that will be battling for one of the four spots in their respective class will be the other two Ross brothers, John at 130 lbs.. who will be seeded 7th and Tyler at 112 lbs. entering as a draw in. Patrick Jenkins will be the second highest seeded Cyclone as he will be ranked third in the 145-pound class and has a great opportunity to advance with a solid performance as well.
   David Sayers at the 140 lb. class stands in good position to place as Scooter Houston from Jefferson County will be the favorite for the class, but the other four solid wrestlers including Sayers have beat upon each other all season long so the door stands open for Sayers to punch his ticket to state.
   Mitch Cornett in the 152-pound class will be seeded 8th in his class, but if Cornett gets it all together he is another contender for a date in state competition. Bryan Bradshaw will square off in the 171 lb. class and has been a rock solid performer all season and should give his competition their money's worth.
   Cory Henson at 135, Eric Moore at 160, and Michael Eggers in the 189 class have all made promising advances over the season and are very capable of pulling off wins to propel them into one of the openings in their respective class.
   David Hardy will be filling the 215-pound slot and according to Potter has something that even Hardy himself may not even be aware of.
   Said Potter: " David is one of the most gifted athletes on the team. He has had no formal training of any kind until he came out for wrestling and could sneak in to place and advance on down the road. Seeds one and two are tough in that class, but after that there is a wide gap that possibly could allow David to get in there."
   The Cyclones finished the regular season 11-5 and could have very well have been 13-3 if it had not been for two tough defeats at Greeneville and Daniel Boone. It was one of their most positive seasons in a long time and Potter had nothing but praise for his team.
   "I am very proud of these guys because they have put together a strong year and achieved a solid record," quipped Potter. "I feel like they all deserve to win in the regional and like I told them today at practice that they are the guys who need to make up their minds they want to win and go out there and just do it."
   Added Potter: "I think they are ready to do something big at the regional."