Cyclones step to the fore

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   CORRYTON -- The heavy rain and damaging winds that the weather experts were calling for never showed up at the Sectional 1-A/AA Track Meet on Friday, but there was a Cyclone that hit the area.
   The Elizabethton Cyclone boys track team won the sectional title, and the girls team finished second at Knox Gibbs High School.
   Happy Valley's boys team also did well, as it finished third.
   Elizabethton boys track coach Tommy Jenkins, who was also filling in for Renee Bennett as girls track coach on Friday, was extremely happy with the results.
   "I'm just absolutely tickled," Jenkins said. "We're not looking to win a championship in that sense. But I'm glad we did, and I'm glad the girls were runner-up. Our main objective was to send kids to the state meet next week. To do that you have to be one or two. We didn't participate in some things to give them a better opportunity to have fresh legs. But it worked out for the best. We're really, really tickled for our guys and our girls."
   The Elizabethton boys team did very well in field events, especially ones involving throwing.
   Andrew Presnell won the discus throw with a distance of 138-01, while Vince Redd took the region shot put championship with a throw of 46-11.75
   This is the first year that Redd has performed in track and field since eighth grade, so he his happy about his performance and the opportunity to go to Chattanooga.
   "This is exciting," Redd said. "I haven't done this before. This is one thing I have wanted to do."
   Whitman Brown will be headed to Chattanooga in two events. Brown finished second to Happy Valley's Matt Dalton in 300 hurdles, but won the 110 meter hurdles.
   "It feels pretty good," Brown said. "I've worked really hard for three years. I'm just happy to be here."
   Neal Wandell, Walter Brown, Adam Turley and Lester Bailey qualified for the state meet by finishing second in the 4X200 relay.
   Bailey also qualified for the state in the 100 meter dash with a second place finish in the event.
   On the girls side, Elizabethton's Valneesha Redd won two field events, and finished second in another.
   Redd took the high jump title by jumping 16-9.50. Redd then won the triple jump by jumping 32 feet even.
   After winning those two events, Redd finished second in the high jump by jumping 5-2. She actually tied Sullivan North's Crystal Newland, but came in second due to having more scratches.
   Redd wasn't disappointed that she couldn't pull out all three.
   "You win some, you lose some," Redd said.
   Elizabethton's Tara Benfield will also be making the trip to Chattanooga after winning the shot put with a throw of 34-11.25.
   Happy Valley also tasted success on Friday, as the Warriors will have several participants in Chattanooga.
   In addition to winning the 300 Hurdles, Dalton also won the pole vault by clearing 12 feet.
   Dalton also recently won the Region 1 decathlon, and will be competing in the state decathlon this week in Nashville.
   Dalton is very confident about his chances in the pole vault.
   "I think I'll go this year and try to win the thing," Dalton said.
   Dalton attempted the region record at 13-2, but couldn't quite get over the hump.
   "That last jump was close," Dalton said. "I think I ought of cleared it. At the decathlon or state I'm going to clear that."
   Happy Valley standout David Hughes continued his dominance of distance events, as he took home victories in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.
   Hughes' bread and butter is 3200, an event he finished second in the state last year. The guy that beat him, Franklin Road Academy's Austin Weaver, is back this season.
   But Hughes feels confident because of certain circumstances that have happened this year.
   "The guy that beat me last year is getting over an injury, and he hasn't broke ten yet and I have. It's looking real good.
   Warrior track star Bo Milhorn will also be going to Chattanooga, as he finished second in the 800 meter run.
   Forrest Holt finished second behind Presnell in the discus, and also earned a trip to the state
   On the girls side, Lady Warrior Katie Williams qualified for the state by finishing second in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.
   Johnson County High School also had something to smile about on Friday. Matt Cornett will be in Chattanooga for the second straight year after winning the high jump.
   Cornett won the event by clearing six feet.
   "I wish I had gotten a little higher," Cornett said. "I didn't scratch up until 6-2. Then at 6-2 I didn't have anybody to compete against, and it just wasn't the same."
   Johnson County track coach Mike Atwood thinks that Cornett has done a great job considering there is not a high jump pit at the school.
   "I feel good, especially for the facilities we have up there," Atwood said. We don't have any place to practice, so I feel really good about it. It's just how good of an athlete he is."
   The state meet will be held next Friday and Saturday at the Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga. The girls will go first on Friday, with the boys to follow on Saturday.