BY BRYCE PHILLIPS, Elizabethton Star
Ask any high school coach, and they will tell that their athletic program can only be as good as its feeder programs.
And that is why Elizabethton High School co-head wrestling coach Eddie Morrell thought it would be a good idea to start the E-Town Brawlers youth wrestling program.
“It is the lifeblood of any program,” said Morrell about the importance of a feeder program. “When you start athletes at the third, fourth and fifth grade, that gives your junior high a base to work with.
“You know, right now, we are hurting at the junior high level,” added Morrell. “We only had six wrestlers last year. So this couldn’t come at a better time.”
Morrell went on to say that the youth program, which has roughly 14 to 16 participants, currently has three fifth graders that will start wrestling for the T.A. Dugger wrestling team next year, helping boost the Jr. Cyclones wrestling numbers.
Here recently, some members of the program competed in the AAU Youth Spring Nationals in Kingsport, one of those young grapplers brought home a medal.
East Side Elementary fourth grader, Don Singleton, earned an All-American honor as he took sixth place in the 105-pound junior weight division.
This is the first year that Singleton has taken to the mat, and the young grappler, who was very excited about his medal, said that wrestling was tough at first but now he is loving it.
“It was tough the first few days, but then it started getting easier,” said Singleton.
Singleton was joined at nationals by teammates Landon Lavole, Ethan Whitehead, and Noah Singleton.
“He represents the first year of our program,” said Morrell about Ethan. “One thing that he did that helped him through the meet was that he stayed aggressive. He wasn’t afraid to step on the mat with wrestlers that were more experience than him.”
The E-Town Brawlers is open to young athletes who reside in all of Carter County. The athletes must be with the age range of 4 to 14. If a wrestler is 14 years old, they must be eighth grade.
For information, people can contact Morrell via email at email@example.com or by calling 865-208-4064 and leave a message.