HV's Williams runner-up in mile

By Wes Holtsclaw

   MEMPHIS -- Katie Williams didn't finish on the very top, but her effort was a proper sendoff.
   In the Happy Valley senior's final events for the Lady Warrior track squad at the A/AA girls' state track meet, Williams battled from behind on the final lap to finish second in the mile.
   She wound out her career with all-state placements during seven seasons, including cross country, with the silver medal at Briarcrest Christian School.
   "It was my last race of the school year and I gave it everything I had," said Williams, who finished sixth in the same race last year.
   Williams finished sixth in the 800-meter run.
   For the Elizabethton Lady Cyclones, junior Valnessha Redd placed third and fourth in the triple jump and long jump, respectively, while the Elizabethton 4x800 relay team placed fourth overall in the state.
   The Happy Valley senior moved into second on the second lap before Sullivan Central freshman Katye Stone passed her.
   The Lady Cougar, who won the state's 3,200 run earlier, held Williams off until the final stretch where Williams passed her near the finish line.
   "She's a great athlete and I have a lot of respect for a freshman who can compete with seniors," said Williams. "Now I've got to go on to college and figure out my competitors there."
   Williams will continue her career at Chattanooga.
   "Just to make it down here is tremendous," said Happy Valley track coach Don Verran. "We've had a good four years and she's like one of your family. It'll be hard to replace her."
   She had nothing but praise for her coaches, Don and Scotty Verran.
   Scotty Verran, who is a reserve for the military, has been called up for work overseas.
   "I'm going to miss my coaches a lot," she said. "Scotty's going overseas and I hope Don can do it all. I'll miss Scotty a lot and I wish him luck.
   "I also want to thank Aaron Baird, and without God none of us would be here."
   Kristi Ensminger of Harpeth won the mile race.
   Elizabethton's Redd was favored in the long jump, but wound out fourth with a mark of 16'6.75".
   She finished just a quarter of an inch behind second-place winner Denedra Walker of Trezevent in the triple jump, which was won by Hume Fogg's Molly Kennedy.
   "I had a pretty good season and I broke a couple of records," Redd said. "Whenever I come down here I come to win. It just didn't happen today."
   "I think she was disappointed," said Elizabethton coach Jim Presnell of Redd. "It's hit or miss down here. With one more year to go, she'll come back with a little more vengeance."
   The Elizabethton relay unit of Katie Presnell, Jessica Carpenter, Lindsey McAmis and Christina Basconi ran a time of 10:45.86 to take fourth in their 4x800 race.
   "The girls ran five seconds faster than they've ran all year," said the Cyclone coach. "You can't be disappointed with that. It was good."
   Lindsey McAmis pushed Elizabethton out to a lead during her two laps, but the team fell back to sixth before a late push from Carpenter gave them fourth.
   Hume-Fogg won the event, while CPA and Knox Carter wound out the top three.
   For the team's two seniors, it was a good way to end their careers as Lady Cyclones.
   "We had our time overall and you have to be happy with that," said Katie Presnell.
   "Overall, I'm satisfied but a little disappointed," said Milligan signee Carpenter. "I wanted to go out with a bang, but we still did well."
   For other local competitors, Central freshman Courtney Barnett added the school's second state crown with a victory in the discus.
   Unicoi County freshman Brittany Higgins placed fifth in the pole vault, while Volunteer's Jacklyn Talbert placed first in the 800 meter run.
   Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill also had good days for their girls teams.
   The Region and Section 1-A/AA Champion Elizabethton Cyclones boys track team is prepared and ready to aim for a state title.
   The 4X400 relay team could very well win the state championship, while the team has good shots in other events.
   "Everybody's ready to go," added coach Presnell. "We've peaked for the season and it will take our fastest times to win. We've got a chance and that's all we can ask for."
   The team has six points towards its credit due to the solid decathlon performance from Brad Osborne, who placed third in the state with 5,500 points at Battle Ground Academy on Tuesday.
   "It was all right," Osborne said of the event. "I did good in the shot put but finished two feet better in the pole vault than I did in the regionals."
   "I just tried to be consistent and stay focused," he said.
   Osborne will compete in two field events for the Cyclone squad.
   "We have a pretty good chance and I think we'll do good."
   The Elizabethton STAR like to thank Memphis Sports Authority's Keisha Lucas and the TSSAA's Earl Nall for their great hospitality in use of outlets at the media headquarters throughout the week at the 2004 Spring Fling.