Indians deliver goods in third Border Wars

By Ivan Sanders


   Old man winter was blowing cold air outside, but action inside A.L. Treadway Gym was hotter than an Abrams tank blasting away on a firing range as the 2002 edition of Border Wars was being played out on the Elizabethton High School wrestling mats.
   For the third consecutive year, the Indians of Dobyns-Bennett proved their mettle by walking away with the gold in besting 11 other teams from five states including West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.
   "It was a good day overall as we had good fan support and a fantastic effort by our parents and sponsors in pulling this thing off," stated a tired but satisfied EHS wrestling coach Bill Potter. "The coaches had a good time and the wrestling was pretty good."
   In Border Wars, it isn't about individual wins and losses, but it is an affair where everyone pulls together in a whole team effort as they try to claim top honors in the growing wrestling match.
   Potter had to perform some magic before the event even took off as two teams, West Greene and Prestonsburg, WV, were a little short-handed due to illness and injury and had to be divvied up to bring the pool action to an even three-team setup.
   After getting squared away, pool wrestling commenced with eventual champion D-B coming out on top in the round of Pool 1 by defeating Morristown East and Virginia High. Pool 2 was garnered by Mitchell County, NC with the host Cyclones taking second and a junior varsity team from Grundy, VA which as a varsity team is ranked in the top 50 in America, taking third.
   Pool 3 belonged to another highly-ranked national team as the 35th ranked Christiansburg, VA Demons powered by Tennessee High and Spring Valley, WV.
   "We had 106 wrestlers and two teams ranked high nationally in here, which is saying something about this event," stated Potter. "We were unfortunate that the other two teams that were scheduled to wrestle didn't make it in."
   In championship pool wrestling, the top three teams from each pool squared off in the championship pool while the other six were regulated to wrestling for fourth through ninth. The Indians found the Christiansburg team bent on taking away their title, but with some great wrestling from the lower weight classes, prevailed and took first overall.
   Christiansburg, which brought a mix of junior varsity as well as some of their top athletes, took second place back to Virginia while Mitchell Co. settled for third and a trophy for their display case in North Carolina.
   Wrapping up four through nine were as follows: 4) Morristown East 5) Elizabethton 6) Tennessee High 7) Virginia High 8) Grundy and 9) Spring Valley.
   Potter felt like his squad deserved to come out of Round 1 action ahead of Mitchell Co., but two losses to members of the Prestonsburg team that combined with Mitchell Co. were the nails to seal the deal for the North Carolina team.
   "The two twin brothers from Prestonsburg are ranked second and third in the state of West Virginia in their weight class, so it made Mitchell Co. even more tougher," stated Potter. "Hey, but I put them on that team this morning so..."
   One thing that Potter has tried to do since taking over the wrestling chores at EHS is to build the community and school's interest in the sport of wrestling. He felt like this type of tournament should be a spring board to even more support from the community for the remainder of the Cyclone season.
   Said Potter: "I am hoping after today that the people of Elizabethton as well as the school kids get behind out program and support us the remaining portion of the season. We are back here Tuesday night and I would love to see this place filled as we wrestle a quad match. I am really satisfied overall in how this year's Border Wars turned out."