HV, EHS send teams to State

From Staff Reports

   GRAY-- The Elizabethton and Happy Valley cross-country teams aren't going to perform on Broadway anytime soon, but they're still in the show.
   The show that they're going to is the state meet. Both the Cyclone and Warrior teams qualified with their performances at the Region 1-A/AA cross-country meet, which was held at Daniel Boone High School on Thursday.
   Happy Valley's boys won the team title, and the girls finished second. As for Elizabethton, the boys finished second to qualify for its first-ever state meet.
   As a matter of fact, the whole team will be there because Megan Pearce, the only girl on the Cyclone team, finished fifth Individually and also qualified.
   Happy Valley's David Hughes won the boys individual championship with a time of 16:22. Lady Warrior cross-country runner Katie Williams thought Hughes' effort was valiant.
   "We're always excited for David," Williams said. "I expect him to win at state. If he doesn't I'll get him."
   Williams also lavished praise for the rest of her teammates.
   "The girls have done awesome," Williams said. "Kortney Goulds hurt her knee this summer and couldn't run this fall, but people like Jeanie Hawkins and Lauren Hollowell have worked very hard.
   "And I'm really proud of our guys. They were down for finishing second at the conference. Thursday really lifted their spirits."
   It was definitely a total team effort for the Warriors. Williams and Hollowell earned All-Region honors for the girls, while Hughes, Bo Milhorn and Brandon Garland made All-Region for the guys. Those honors go to runners who finish in the top 15.
   As for Williams, she nearly made it a Warrior sweep. Williams finished second with a time of 19:46.31. Volunteer's Jacklyn Talbert won the race with a time of 19:44.60.
   "I guess it's a good thing I finished second," Williams said. "That will make me try harder at the state."
   The Cyclones received All-Region honors from Pearce, Andy Ross, Luke Carrier and Matthew Young. Ross topped the Elizabethton boys brigade with a sixth-place finish.
   "I think I ran about the best race I could have run," Ross said. "That's a good place to finish."
   But the big story for the Cyclones is that they will be making their first ever appearance at a state meet.
   "It was real exciting to do that," Ross said. "We figured we could get second or third."
   One Cyclone runner will be no stranger to the state meet. That happens to be Pearce, who qualified last year in the Class AAA ranks.
   "I'm just excited that our whole team is going to the state," Pearce said. 'This is the first year I'll get to travel with my team."
   Pearce will go down as one of the best female runners ever to race at Elizabethton, but she admits that this season hasn't lived up to her standards.
   "I feel I could have had a better year," Pearce said. "That's probably the best I could have done for that race."
   Both Williams and Ross feel these performances couldn't have happened without their coaches, Lisa Watson from Elizabethton and Don Verran from Happy Valley.
   "Coach Watson has been real supportive of us," Ross said.
   Said Williams: Coach Verran is always telling us to crank it up a notch. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't be where I am."