Redd places high in long, triple jumps

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   MEMPHIS--Valnessha Redd didn't repeat her state championship performance in the long jump on Thursday, but it was still an afternoon to remember for the Elizabethton High School standout.
   Redd finished second in the long jump, but set a school record in the triple jump en route to finishing third in that event at the TSSAA Class A/AA State Track Championships at Memphis Briarcrest.
   Redd's 36-6, jump broke a school record that she actually held.
   But the big deal was that Redd actually broke her record at the state meet. That was something that thrilled Elizabethton head coach Renee Bennett.
   "The triple jump has been her strongest event this year," Bennett said. "Everything else has kind of been in limbo. She's broken the school record a total of four times this year. That was awesome."
   Redd came in as the defending state champion in the long jump, but lost out to Mitchell's Kimberly Cotton. Redd jumped 16-10, compared to Cotton's 17-3.75.
   It was also a tough day for the defending state shot put champion. Tara Benfield finished fifth this year with a throw of 34-07.00.
   "There's a lot of pressure coming in as the state champion," Bennett said. "Everybody knows that, and it's kind of hard on her that way. But she has been throwing 34 all year. I think she's thrown over 35 once. She even said there's nothing else I can do with what I've been throwing all year. She's realistic about what happened today."
   It's been a career that has kind of gone unnoticed in local track circles and by the media, but Bennett couldn't be happier with Benfield.
   "Tara's had a good career," Bennett said. "I think she can be very proud of her high school career in track. She's a real hard worker."
   Katie Williams finished third in the 3,200 meter run, but then finished sixth in the 3,200.
   Williams came into the race with the best time in the 3,200, but it was Anna Giles from CAK that took both events on this day.
   It's been a great year for Williams, but it was tough day for the junior.
   Williams was especially disappointed with the 1,600.
   "I tried to go out as hard as I could," Williams told a local reporter after the race. "I stuck with her at the Region, but I don't know. I didn't have it today."
   NOTES: The boys, track meet will be today, and will feature a surprise entry. After rumors that he wasn't coming due to graduation, Elizabethton's Vince Redd will compete in the shot put and discus.