Cyclones, Warriors ready to run


star staff


  Elizabethton and Happy Valley have already kicked off the cross country season with different expectations from each squad. While Happy Valley looks to be competitive and field enough runners for a boys squad, Elizabethon boys have their eyes focused on a state championship after a second place finish last season in the boys Class A/AA divison.
  Both look to improve in girls competition with some key returning performers for both squads.
  Elizabethton
  The Cyclones return three key runners off of last season's state runner-up squad as Jim Presnell looks for good things from this group of runners.
  "This is probably our best chance of bringing home a team state championship," stated Presnell.
  Adam Green returns after being named to the all-state team last season. Green has a 15:54 best to lead the Cyclone attack. Josh Jaynes owns a 16:12 which ranks him as one of the top runners in East Tennessee.
  "Ryan has a chance at the individual honor while Jaynes could be in the mix," added Presnell. Both Green and Jaynes indicated that team goals were more important than individual goals.
  "I just want to do my best to help this team win," added Green. "We want a Cyclone state championship," added Jaynes.
  David McDaniel has a 16:33 to his credit but the big surprise has been the running of Corey Henson. Henson had a 20th overall finish in the Bristol Steel Creek run. Green was eight while Jaynes finished 13th.
  Fighting for the fifth position is Caleb McDaniel, Drew Laporte and Ryan Green. Zack Shepard, Andrew Gouge, Logan Carpenter, Seth Grindstaff, Jessie Egler, Joseph Basconi, Jordan Peters, Tyler Ross and Josh Fair round out the squad. Presnell indicated that some of these runners are improving and could see action in the future.
  Several players indicated that Franklin Road Academy and Chattanooga Arts & Science will provide stiff competition during the state meet.
  "We've got a good chance and that's all you can ask for," added Presnell. "We look forward to competing.
  The Lady Cyclones feature one of the top runners in the region in Regina Basconi who is within .10 seconds of the school record. Basconi finished fourth overall in the Steel Creek run last weekend.
  Lindsey McAmis returns after qualifying for the state last season. McAmis turned in a tenth place finish at the Steel Creek run.
   Other who will be counted on are Courtney Towe, Kendra Perkins and Laura Bowman. Towe ran 20th in last weeks race.
  "These girls are putting forth a good effort," added Presnell. "I am happy with their work ethics."
  Happy Valley
  The Warriors are improving on the girls side but trying to find that fifth runner for the boys team has proven difficult. Happy Valley legend Don Verran is back coaching and likes what he sees from his girl's team.
  "We got some girls who are working very hard" stated Verran. "And one of our boys could be in the thick of everything."
  Ashley Flynn returns after being named to the all state team last season. Flynn is trying to get her time below the 19 minute mark and hopes to continue her cross country career after high school.
  "I'm working hard to get my times down," added Flynn. "I would love to run at Milligan or UT-Chattanooga after my senior season."
   Jessica Hongkham, Shanna Raines, Brittney Fisher, Jessica Yaters and Brandi Birchfield round out the squad. Raines and Samatha Canter could help the lady Warriors.
  On the boys side Daniel Smith is highly regarded as one of the area's best performers. Smith finished ninth overall at Steel Creek last week while Dustin Green continues to improve.
  Adam Black and Wes Doyle will fill in the third and fourth positions while a fifth runner is still needed.
  "We just want to get the kids interested," added Verran. "We hope to improve each time out."