BY BRYCE PHILLIPS, Elizabethton Star
Elizabethton High School sophomore Tyesha Thomas is just in her second year as a wrestler for the Cyclones.
And the Lady Cyclone is storming through her competition.
Here recently, during the TSSAA Girls East Region, Thomas had two pins and a decision win en route to the championship title in the 119-pound weight division at Gibbs High School.
In the championship bout, Thomas topped three-time state champ Isabella Badon, 12-5.
“It means a lot,” said Thomas about winning the region title. “Last year, I took second at region and second at state. So coming back this year and beating a three-time state champ, is really big for me.”
When asked what has changed since last year that has helped her excel to the next level, Thomas said it is the intensity.
“I owe a lot to my practice partner, Hunter Morrell,” said Thomas. “He is always beating on me every day and pushing me to go harder.”
So far this season, Thomas hasn’t been topped yet as she holds a 21-0 record with only two of those matches going all three periods.
“She is a beast,” said Elizabethton co-coach Travis Pennell. “She has figured out that she wants wrestling to take all the way to school and all the way to the Olympics, possibly. She really wants to make something out of this.”
Eddie Morrell, who co-coaches the Cyclones with Pennell, echoed Pennell’s sentiment about Thomas.
“She just has the work ethic and has put in the hours to do it,” said Morrell. “It is just that simple. She works as hard as anybody in the room. She is the kid that goes home and watches videos and will then send a message, ‘Look at this coach, how cool is this.’ She studies the sport. She works with Hunter (Morrell) a lot. And it has been good for her to work with someone who has been on the same path.”
Up next for Thomas will be a trip to the TSSAA Girls State Championships.
“I am just going to go there with a winner’s mentality,” said Thomas. “Just going to go there and get things done. No playing around.”