'Blazers sweep EHS meet

By Allen LaMountain

   Winning a dozen individual events will get you where you want to be in most meets, and on Thursday afternoon at Elizabethton High School, the Daniel Boone Trailblazers swept the girls and boys high team scores to capture the 'Betsy track meet.
   Boone's girls swept through eight individual events, with Allison Langrel winning the 100-meter hurdles, the high jump, long jump, triple jump and the 300-meter hurdle events enroute to scoring 97 team points.
   "Langrel is the real deal," said Blazers head coach George Moody. "Our freshmen girls ran a great mile and we felt we wanted to come in here and compete. To win like this is unbelievable."
   The Lady Blazers also won the discus, with Hayley Collins launching a 91' 8" heave, and the 3200-meter event (April Vittatoe 16:04) and the 200 meter run (Kelly Petty 27.8) as they distanced themselves from second-place Unicoi County, which tallied 92 team points.
   EHS finished third with 35 points, while the Lady Hurricanes of Morristown East garnered just 16 points.
   "We only brought eight girls with us tonight," said East head coach Mike Harville. "They did a decent job of picking up some points. We did well in the 1600 and discus events. We are still experimenting with different events and getting girls to turn out for track. We have 75 boys and just eight girls."
   The Lady Blue Devils paced the 400-meter run (Jessica Roller 1:06.6), the 800-meter run (Rachel McNabb 2:52.9) and the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:39.
   "I don't really know where the strength of this team lies just yet," said Blue Devils head coach Randy Brewer. "We haven't been exceptionally strong in any event, but we have a lot of depth. Our relay team may turn out to be our best feature."
   The home standing Lady Cyclones got solid performances from Tara Benfield who placed second in the discus with a 84' 73/4" toss and won the shot put with a 36'4" heave.
   'Betsy was without the services of all-star Valnessha Redd, who is nursing a knee injury, but coach Renee Bennett is hopeful of getting her back, saying, "She didn't get cleared by the doctors to run tonight, so she sat this one out."
   That clearly was a blow to 'Betsy's chances as Redd has dominated long jump and high jump events as well as the 100-meter dash. EHS managed to put together enough place opportunities to garner 35 team points.
   The Lady Cyclones paced the 4x800 relay with a time of 11:49.
   The Cyclones boys looked like they would break Boone's recent stranglehold on this meet, with a 59-to-54.5 going into the 200 meter dash, but 'Betsy failed to collect a point as Boone took first and second place for an 11-point event to take a lead they never relinquished.
   The Blazers posted a 71.5-to-67 margin of victory over EHS and Morristown East, with Unicoi County putting up 49.5 team points.
   Senior Vince Redd dominated in the discus (119' 1 ¸") and shot put (46' 8 ¸") events, with strong showings by Brad Holtsclaw (41') and Derrick Nave (38' 7 ¸"), who finished second and third, respectively.
   "I need to get more practice in on it," said Nave, who is throwing the shot for the first time in his prep career. "It takes a lot of technique to get a good throw off."
   EHS' Andy Hobbs took the triple jump event with a leap of 35'5" and -- as expected -- junior speedster Lester Bailey left the field in his wake with a 10.2 100-meter dash. In all EHS took first place in five events, with the 4x800 relay team posting a 9:38.8 time.
   "This is not an event that I'm overly concerned about us winning," said Cyclones head coach Tommy Jenkins. "It's early in the season, and a small meet. We didn't have Lester for the 200, and Adam Turley's legs were cramping up. We want to build as the season goes on and be strong in the regional and sectional meets down the road."
   Boone's Travis Duncan took the high jump event -- leaping 5'6" on his first try and Blake Ketron ran an 11:07.9 in the 3200-meter run to place first.
   In all the Blazers took first place in four events on the boys' side of the action.
   First place finishers for Morristown East were Wakeen Simpson in the long jump (17' 7 ¸"), Morgan Riddle in the 1600 and 800-meter events and the Hurricanes relay squad's won both the 4x100 and 4x400 events. Matt Harville took top honors in the 300-meter hurdles (45.5).
   Unicoi County's Aaron Fain took the 100-meter hurdles with a 17.7 showing.
   One disappointing happenstance came during the boys 4x100 relay when a Cyclone runner slipped and fell into the lane of a Blue Devil runner and EHS was disqualified from the event, although Bailey had surged to the lead and the resulting loss in points was an aid for the Blazers.
   The Blazers went from third to second in the event with the EHS disqualification, and while that helped a bit, it wasn't the deciding factor in the Boone victory.
   "We have a very young team, and not a lot of depth," Moody said. "But we have a lot of blue collar, hard working types that respond when things get tough."