Trio of Cyclones wrestle their way to state event

By Ivan Sanders

   Expectations for the Elizabethton Cyclone wrestling team were high heading into the regional wrestling match this past Saturday at Greeneville High School, and by the time the mats were rolled up the Cyclones came walking away with three wrestlers placing in their respective weight class for a shot at state titles.
   Andy Ross, John Ross and Patrick Jenkins will be packing their gear and heading toward UT-Chattanooga's Roundhouse, where state action gets underway on Thursday. All three qualified with Andy taking the regional title at the 125 weight class and brother, John, placing third in the 130 lb. class.
   Jenkins finished second in the 145 lb. class after dropping the championship match to Steve McKinney of Dobyns-Bennett, who is ranked first in the state for this class.
   "I believed some of these guys exercised some of their demons in this regional tournament," stated Cyclone wrestling coach Bill Potter. "They beat some guys who they have never beat or maybe ones that had beaten them this year, but the guys really wrestled hard with seven of the nine guys we brought getting to a position where they could wrestle for a placing and a state berth."
   Andy Ross, who was favored going in at the 125 lb. class, didn't disappoint as he beat the one wrestler who Potter had projected to be his main competition in Cameron Felton of Daniel Boone. According to Potter, Ross had been grooming himself for the opportunity to take the title and the determination paid off with a regional championship.
   John Ross battled back after dropping a match early in the 130 lb. weight class and then rebounded to take third over the same wrestler who had been his demise earlier.
   Jenkins maybe got a bigger load off his back than anyone as the young man defeated a very tough wrestler in Science Hill's Drew Beamer, who had pinned Jenkins in only 42 seconds in the regular season. Jenkins then fought solidly in the finals against McKinney, but the Indian grappler showed why he was deserving off his ranking in the state by pinfalling Jenkins.
   For Potter, having three of his wrestlers qualify for the state competition was exciting, but he was just as proud of the other wrestlers who didn't place, but worked their cans off to be within striking distance of a medal.
   "I was pleased in the fact that seven of the nine guys made it to a point where they did or could have placed and advanced on down the road," stated Potter. "I had the assistant from Science Hill come and tell me that we had wrestled them as tough as anyone has all season long as they beat us by around 70 points in our head to head matches, but had a greater margin of victory against other teams they faced."
   Tyler Ross, Mitch Cornett, David Hardy and Bryan Bradshaw all wrestled tremendously, but each found themselves one match shy of qualifying for state. This was Ross' and Hardy's first time around the regional, so the future looks bright for these two Cyclones next season.
   After getting in some practice with some other teams from around the area, the three qualifiers will head toward Chattanooga on Wednesday evening. Action is slated to get underway on Thursday, with the medal rounds on Saturday.