Elizabethton ready to roll out mats for Border Wars

By Matt Hill

   A highly competitive high school wrestling event featuring teams from several states will be held this weekend at Elizabethton High School.
   The third annual "Border Wars" happens Saturday at Treadway Gym. Programs from Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia will all be competing.
   The event continues to grow. Six teams competed in 2000, while nine teams were in the 2001 event.
   This year however, 12 teams are in the team tournament.
   Chilhowie, Va., Christiansburg, Va., Virginia High, Grundy, Va.; Spring Valley, W.Va.; Morristown East, West Greene, Dobyns-Bennett, Prestonsburg, Ky.; Tennessee High and Elizabethton High Schools will be participating.
   EHS head wrestling coach Bill Potter is excited about the event.
   "We're going to start wrestling about 10 o'clock," Potter said. "We wrestle in what are called pools. Each team has three other teams in their pools and everybody wrestles everybody to see who comes out and wins the tournament."
   The team to beat might be Dobyns-Bennett. It is the only school to ever win the event, and the Indians were ranked in the state during the preseason.
   "They've got a good team," Potter said. "Grundy and Christiansburg both are sending "B" teams. Both of their programs are ranked in the top 50 in the nation. They're both coached by former Iowa wrestlers that wrestled for Dan Gable. It's a real good tournament. I think it's a good quality tournament. It's not real, real tough, but it's not real, real easy.
   "Everybody seems to enjoy it. The coaches enjoy it, the players enjoy it. We've got a good bunch of guys, and we have a pretty good time."
   Elizabethton finished fourth in the event last season. Potter hopes to improve on that come Saturday.
   "I think we'll stack up pretty well with almost anybody in the event outside of maybe Dobyns-Bennett, truthfully," Potter said. "They're still probably the favorite this year. Against everybody else we should have a fighting chance. We're pretty solid from 125 through 171. We're pretty solid in those weight classes.
   "We're looking forward to it. We'll have a good weekend. Hopefully, we'll place in the top four teams. I think we can."
   There will be three different sessions. Ticket prices are $6 for an all day pass and $3 dollars per session. Junior high and high school kids will get in for $3 all day and $2 per session.
   Potter thinks this would give a good chance for people to see how fun this sport is.
   "It would be a good time for some people to get some exposure to high school wrestling," Potter said. "It will be some good quality wrestling. We've got teams coming from five states. They have to travel to get here. They're willing to come, and it will be a good day for everybody."