EHS harriers  rule event

By Marvin Birchfield
star staff

  GRAY--The annual Santa Circirello cross country event took place on Tuesday, with the Elizabethton boys teams blazing the trail.
  The Cyclones finished with a total of 47 points to take first place over host Daniel Boone, as they had three runners in the top ten and six in the top 25.
  "We ran well up front, and we still have a few spots to pick up," said Elizabethton cross country coach Jim Presnell. "We've run in the past like we do now, but never had anybody up front. We have two that run up front now, and another one that could run up there if he gets a little more confidence."
  It was a photo finish between Daniel Boone's Blake Ketron and Elizabethton's Adam Green.
  "I thought I had him there for a second, but he came back out of nowhere," Green said. "I'm very pleased with the run today because he's a fast runner and I was just trying to stay with him."
  Green trailed the leaders most of the way, but going into the last mile he decided to make a move to the front and try to stay ahead of the pack.
  The strategy worked until the last leg up the final incline, where a pursuing Ketron turned up the heat.
  "I thought I might have gone for it a little early, but I just tried to get out front and stay there," said Green. "I was trying to kick it in with a mile to go, and try to hang on until the end."
  Green also kick in a burst of speed with both runners going across the finish line simultaneously.
  A time of 16:30 was turned in by each of the runners, with Ketron being awarded the decision.
  "Adam Green took a chance today, and I think he can compete for the state championship at AA -- he's run well all year," said Presnell. "This is Ketron's home court, so to almost beat him here is pretty darn good."
  J. Penny of Davy Crockett was a close third, while Josh Jaynes from Elizabethton rounded up fourth.
  The Cougars of Sullivan Central had Matt Neal and Chris Blackburn coming in fifth and sixth, respectively.
  David McDaniel became the third runner in the event from Elizabethton to finish inside the first 10 spots, as he was clocked at 17:22.
  Boone's Josh Armentrout, David Crockett's Eli Cruz, and Jet Addair from Sullivan East made out the top ten cut.
  Other notables for Elizabethton were Corey Henson in 12th, Joseph Basconi in 22nd, and Ryan Green in 23rd.
  In recent year, the Happy Valley Warriors had top runners in both boys and girls events.
  This year it is still too early to tell how things will pan out, but some good efforts from Daniel Smith, a transfer from Hampton in the boys, and Ashley Flynn in the girls give the Warriors some promising hope.
  "The older ones ran pretty good, and the younger ones times were adequate, but nothing to really brag about," said Happy Valley cross country coach Don Verran. "You just can't come out here over night and become a champion right off the bat."
  A short man filled team on the boys side, Smith paced his way to a 15th-place finish overall as the only Warrior to make the top 25.
  "It was a good effort, and this was the first time I've run the course since I moved here, but there's always room for improvement," Smith said. "This is great experience and nothing beats it in the world. They were a lot of good runners, especially from Elizabethton, so I look to try and keep up with those guys."

Photo by Dave Boyd
Ashley Flynn finished first for Happy Valley and 11th overall in the girls' competition.

  Flynn was an all-state runner last year, and she was the top girl for Happy Valley grabbing the lead from the start.
  "I hope I do better than what I did last year -- I'm looking to improve," Flynn said. "I feel like I'm already better going up the hills because they don't seem to be as hard to climb anymore."
  She was not able to stay out in front, but an 11th-place finish by the senior runner was more than respectable with the amount of talent entered in the event.
  "I felt pretty good considering this was just my third meet and we haven't been practicing," Flynn said. "I improved my time by 36 seconds, and I'm glad I did that. I'm really proud of the other girls though, because this was their first meet for some of them and they did really good."
  Science Hill won the overall team event in the girls, while Kayte Stone of Sullivan Central turned in the best time of 20:03.
  Elizabethton had two runners finish inside the top 10 with Regina Basconi placing fifth.
  "I was last one on the team here last year, so I'm excited," said Basconi. "I'm trying and I'm glad we had a team here today, because we finally have five people."
  Basconi had a time of 21:06 which was just over a minute behind the best time of the event.
  "It wasn't my best time, but I was pretty happy though, because this was a harder course," said Basconi.
  The other Cyclone female to make the top 10 list was Lindsey McAmis, who turned in a time of 21:42 to finish eighth overall.