Cyclones, Lady Warriors post second-place efforts


Photo by Dave Boyd
Katie Williams of Happy Valley took second place in the girls' individuals.

By Michelle Pope
STAR STAFF
mprater@starhq.com
GRAY--As the sun beat down Wednesday afternoon, swarms of runners struggled neck to neck and panted through the cross country course at Daniel Boone High School.
Elizabethton High finished second as a team with 62, trailing Sullivan Central only by 10 points. Science Hill finished fifth overall, with 139.
Elizabethton, a newly improving cross-country team, surprised many at the meet by taking the second-place spot. Cyclone coach Jim Presnell was happy to prove any doubters wrong.
"We're beating Daniel Boone, Dobyns-Bennett; we're beating teams and they're like, 'Elizabethton's never beat us. What's the deal with that?'" Presnell said.
"Daniel Boone won a big meet, and they were third today. Sullivan South went to a big meet over in North Carolina and came in the top three. They weren't up there with us today [South placed 7th]," Presnell said. "It's pretty impressive. This end of the state runs pretty good cross country, competitive-wise."
With nine boy's varsity runners all finishing in less than 20 minutes for Elizabethton, Coach Presnell was pleased with his team's results.
Matt Young finished fourth with a time of 17:33.
"The team did well," Young said. "I felt like I did better, but I went out too fast in the beginning, but I'm happy with it. The first mile, I was in the top 15. After that, I started picking people off."
John Ross, who finished in 17:49, took sixth place in the 3-mile run.
"I was pretty pleased about it. It was faster than anything I had ever run before," Ross said.
Jared Cakebread finished 15th in 18:21, Adam Green finished 17th in 18:25, and David McDaniel crossed the line in 18:32, finishing 20th.
"This is the best boy's team Elizabethton's ever had," said Coach Presnell. "We think that we have a chance to maybe crack the top five at state this year. We have 16 boys competing for the seven varsity spots, so that makes everybody run faster. They just kind of feed off each other."
The top three finishers for Elizabethton were seniors, but the fourth, Green, is a sophomore.
"We have a couple seniors that are really leading," Presnell added. "This is their last chance, and now that they see they have a chance, they're excited to push the younger kids to help them out. We have enough younger kids that maybe we've got something started that we can build off of next year."
Jessica Carpenter, who recently had knee surgery, finished 12th for Elizabethton in girl's varsity, with a time of 22:44.
The varsity girls from Happy Valley had a good day as well, placing second in the girl's division with a score of 75, trailing only five points behind Central's number one spot.
Senior Katie Williams led the way for the Happy Valley girls, finishing the 3-mile run in second place at 20:37, only 13 seconds behind Volunteer's Jaclyn Talbert. Williams held the lead through most of the race, but Talbert pulled ahead with half a mile left.
"I had to put myself through so much pain. I was a little disappointed," Williams said. "I guess I just didn't keep focused; I lost something in between. I just didn't make it like I should have."
However, Williams definitely has the drive that will spur her to finish as a top runner.
"I guess it's kind of good to think about your competition, but I don't really think about the people that I beat. I think about people that I can beat. The people that are in front of me, those are the ones that I'm after," Williams said.
The Happy Valley Lady Warriors are improving as an overall team. Kortney Goulds finished with a time of 20:54. "I killed myself back there," she said. "My goal for the day was to beat this one girl from Central, and I actually gave it my all."
Goulds accomplished her goal, coming in at third place behind Williams, and beating her Central competitor.
"I was running about third or fourth the whole time," Goulds said. "I tried to pace myself with the girl from Central. Coach told me today, 'I want you to beat orange and white. I don't want you seeing orange and white, I want you seeing the horizon.'"
Kate Powell finished for Happy Valley in 23 minutes, Samantha Canter and Ashley Flynn crossed the line together at 24:17, and Jenny Nangle finished in 26:22.