Hughes comes in second at 'Blazer invite

By Matt Hill

   GRAY--Second place is nothing to be ashamed of, but it's unacceptable for Happy Valley cross-country runner David Hughes.
   Hughes finished two seconds behind Marion, Virginia's Levi Thompson, and had to settle for the runner-up spot in the Thursday's Trailblazer Invitational at Daniel Boone High School
   Hughes finished the run at 16:12, while Thompson won the race at 16:10.
   "I came in a little cocky," Hughes said. "I did a little workout last night, and I shouldn't have. I blame myself for this loss. I am real disappointed. I felt like I should have won, but I didn't come in prepared. I let this race slip away from me."
   Hughes is considered one of the favorites to win the Class AA state meet in a few weeks, and he thinks this was a wake-up call.
   "I'm not going to let anymore races slip out of my grasp," Hughes said.
   Despite the loss, the goal hasn't changed for Hughes.
   "I would like to win the state," Hughes said.
   Elizabethton's top runner in the boys event was Andy Ross. He finished 18th in a field loaded with top runners from East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
   "It was a big race with some good guys in it," Ross said. "I thought I did worse than I did. I'm fairly satisfied with it. I'm looking forward to the conference and the regional."
   Ross is hoping to get back to the state meet this season, but he also has some bigger goals in mind.
   "I'm hoping to get all-state," Ross said. "That's my goal for the year. I would like to have that on the wall."
   Dena Spickard from Marion made it a clean sweep for the Va. school by winning the girls event with a time of 19:22, but a couple of runners from Happy Valley also put together a strong showing.
   Lady Warrior runners Kortney Goulds and Katie Williams finished fifth and seventh, respectively. Overall, the Lady Warriors tallied a sixth place finish in the team standings.
   Goulds came in at 20:14, while Williams finished at 20:19.
   "I'm pretty pleased with how I did," Goulds said. "We've all been under the weather a little bit, and I run pretty good when it's kind of chilly and wet out. We've trained hard this week at practice, and I came through for the team.
   Goulds thinks this will give her some confidence, but she knows anything can happen on any given day.
   "It's a really big booster," Goulds said. "Every day you just don't what's going to happen, but today was just my day and I came through for the team."
   Williams was happy about the success of the team.
   "We have a pretty good team this year," Williams said. "I'm proud of us."
   Williams was a little disappointed in her run, but had good things to say about Goulds.
   "I was disappointed, and I hope to better," Williams said. "But I'm real proud of Kortney."
   Elizabethton had only one female runner in the race, but she finished very high. Jessica Carpenter came in a very respectable 20th in the event.
   This is Carpenter's first year on the team, so EHS head coach Lisa Watson couldn't be happier.
   "She is doing very well," Watson said.
   Watson said that Carpenter received inspiration from former EHS cross-country star Megan Pearce, who is now running at Converse College.
   "She was good friends with Megan Pearce last year running track," Watson said. "Megan convinced her to run cross-country this year, and has encouraged Jessica to try to beat Megan's record. That is Jessica's goal."
   Next up for the Warriors and Cyclones will be the Watauga Conference meet. That takes place next Thursday at Sullivan North.