Elizabethton, HV athletes give solid performances

By Wes Holtsclaw

   KINGSPORT -- While many events were cancelled throughout the area on Monday, the rain wasn't strong enough to stop the TSSAA 1-A/AA Sectional Decathlon and Pentathlon at Sullivan North High School.
   Elizabethton and Happy Valley had participants in the event, which was the first in a series of track and field events in coming weeks that will decide entrants into the TSSAA's State Championship events.
   "It's really just a fun event for the kids," said Happy Valley coach Don Verran, whose team has had success in the event. "It gives them a lot of practice for down the road. We like it pretty good."
   The three locals had a strong outing in the first day of the decathlon, with Elizabethton's Brad Osborne and Happy Valley's Greg Swafford placing in individual events, while Warrior Bryan Black posted good numbers.
   Osborne placed fifth in the triple jump (36-11 3/4), second in the discus (123.11 feet) and won his heat in the 400-meter dash.
   Swafford finished fourth in the triple jump (37-2 1/2) with consistant numbers in the other events, while Black also had strong marks in the discus and triple jump.
   Anderson County's Sean Mount (39-1/2) and Fulton's DeMarcus Matthews (38-1/2) were the top two placegetters in the triple jump.
   Sullivan North's Andrew Tunnell (134.11 feet) took the discus crown, while Gibbs' Brent Anderson (11.87 sec) was first in the 100 meter dash with Lenoir City's Chris Cousins just three-hundreths of a second behind.
   The boys' competition will continue this afternoon with five remaining events.
   The absense of Elizabethton's pentathlon favorite Valneesha Redd, for unspecified reasons, made the girls' event a wide-open cause.
   It allowed the Anderson County duo of Rachel Forbes and Rachal Hooks to advance towards the state meet.
   Forbes was the clear winner in the girl's event with 2,359 points, taking first place ribbons in the 100-meter dash and the long jump, while placing second in the shot put.
   Her teammate, Hooks, finished with 2,050 points. Knoxville Carter High School's Alli Frazier finished just three points behind Hooks at 2,047, needing just a couple of hundreths on an event to go to state.
   Frazier made a late effort, winning the last event which was the 800 meter dash, while Hooks was simply consistant, not placing in any of the events.
   Unicoi County's Kendall Shelton had the best day of the locals with 1,759 points, whereas teammate Natalie Britton finished one spot behind her with 1,755.
   Shelton also had a strong finish with her second place finish in the 800-meter dash. Her mark of 2:38:04 was barely eclipsed by Frazier.
   Redd was favored by many to make a return trip to the state event at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin after posting solid numbers her freshman and sophomore years.
   She finished fifth last year after becoming the state's top qualifier and third during her freshman campaign.