Cyclones sending five grapplers to state meet
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
Saturday was a productive day for the Elizabethton Cyclone wrestling team during the TSSAA 1 A-AA Region wrestling tournament held at Elizabethton High School as Coach Eddie Morrell’s team locked in five grapplers who qualified for a chance to place in the TSSAA state tournament to be held in Chattanooga.
The tournament was scheduled for this coming weekend but due to snow and ice conditions throughout the state, the TSSAA postponed the tournament and rescheduled it for Wednesday, February 24th – Friday, February 26th at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Elizabethton’s most prolific wrestler, Deuce Morton (28-1), wrestling in the 220-pound division won his class and now has a shot at his third consecutive state title.
It was Morton’s last match on the mat at EHS as the senior also was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler while also gaining a measure of revenge as he earned a decision over Pigeon Forge’s Caleb Wolfe who was responsible for the only loss of Morton’s 2021 season in the championship.
Morton received a bye in the quarterfinal before winning a 4-2 decision over Gibbs Landon Brooks in the semifinal round. Against Wolfe (33-3), Morton won the decision, 6-4.
In the 120-pound class, the Cyclones Holden Roaten placed fourth to gain a return trip to the state tourney.
Roaten received a bye in the quarterfinal before dropping an 8-1 decision to Spencer Reep of Knox Gibbs in the semifinal. Roaten moved on to the consolation semifinal where he advanced to the third-place match with a fall over Nuno Castells of West Greene in 22 seconds.
Josue Castillo of Greeneville won by fall over Roaten in 4:47 in the third-place match as Roaten’s fourth-place finish was good enough to secure a trip to Chattanooga.
In the 126-pound class, Elizabethton’s Logan Watson battled his way to a second-place finish to qualify for state.
After a quarterfinal bye, Watson won his semifinal bout over Pigeon Forge’s James Justice 15-8 to move on to face Greeneville’s Charles Dabney.
Dabney took the championship with a pin over Watson in 1:13.
Darris Reece wrestled his way to a third-place finish in the 138-pound class to gain a spot at the state meet.
In quarterfinal action, Reece won by fall over Gibbs Juleon Maldonado in 4:19 to advance to the semifinals against Greeneville’s Hunter Mason who entered the match undefeated.
Mason gained a fall over Reece in 1:23.
Reece picked up a forfeit win over Jaiden Brewer of Fulton in the consolation semifinals before pinning Union County’s Ethan Laughner in 4:03 of the third-place match.
The final state qualifier for the Cyclones came in the heavyweight division when Trenton Taylor took a third-place victory to earn his way to Chattanooga.
After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, Taylor was pinned by Seth Vaughn of Fulton in the semifinals in 43 seconds.
Taylor never quit battling as he won by a pin over Greeneville’s Thomas Seemuth in 42 seconds in the consolation semifinal match.
In the third-place match, Taylor (26-3) won by forfeit over Nate Faulkner of Knox Gibbs.