BY NIC MILLER, Elizabethton Star
With many spring sports beginning to wrap up this time of year, the Elizabethton High School wrestling team is still accomplishing great things.
After a terrific year this past wrestling season taking nine wrestlers to the TSSAA state tournament with six of them placing, three wrestlers are just getting started.
Those three wrestlers— Joseph Kechter, Hunter Morrell, and state champion Deuce Morton recently competed in the USA Wrestling State Freestyle and Greco Roman Wrestling Championships where all three qualified for the team Tennessee national wrestling team.
Coach Eddie Morrell talked a little bit about the tournament saying, “The state tournament was a tough tournament— there were many kids who had placed in the top portions of the TSSAA state tournament.
“Usually, those kids are a bit heavier weight which made it a fairly tough tournament, especially in the upper weights. Deuce (Morton) and (Joseph) Kechter had a pretty challenging road to get to where they did with Kechter facing a wrestler who had won the Virginia Beach National.
“They all worked hard,” continued Morrell. “Hunter (Morrell) placed first in Greco-Roman and second in freestyle, Deuce with his second and third place finish, and Kechter with his double second finish.”
With this being a significant achievement for Elizabethton High School, Coach Morrell added, “Since USA Wrestling became USA Wrestling, I couldn’t find another school in Tennessee that had placed three kids on the junior national team.
“This is a pretty big statement for EHS as far as its wrestling program, the commitment to the sport, and the wrestlers we are producing here.”
Morrell, when asked about the toughness of the tournament, said, “It was really preparation that helped us to get to where we did, we came through as a team that was prepared and just outperformed everybody else, which helped us all get to the top.”
When asked how this tournament varied from the TSSAA state wrestling tournament, state champion wrestler Morton replied, “In this tournament, there were no class divisions meaning kids from schools with 3,000 plus students were wrestling those from schools with 900 or less. “With that being said, every elite wrestler from Tennessee was there so it was a great learning experience having never done it before and I think it will help us for next season especially.”
The third wrestler to place at the tournament, Kechter, is excited for the future of Cyclone Wrestling stating, “This really sets the foundation for the wrestling team in general, and I believe that people don’t think of the team as a joke anymore.
“We’re meant to be taken seriously and with the team hoping to expand and become a more popular sport at the school, I think this will help us accomplish that. There’s a lot of work that goes into it and I’m excited about the future.”
With these three wrestlers receiving such prestigious honors, the future for Cyclone Wrestling looks very bright.