Williams, Hughes region champs

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   GRAY--It was a Warrior running ground on Thursday afternoon at Daniel Boone High School.
   After holding second place throughout the entire girls race, Happy Valley's Katie Williams exploded with less than 100 yards to go, taking a lead and a win in the Region 1-A/AA Cross Country Championships.
   On the boys side, it was an all-out David Hughes domination. Hughes won his race by over 36 seconds with an impressive 16:09.40 time to take the title for the Warriors.
   Happy Valley's Kortney Goulds finished third in the girls run, while Elizabethton's Andy Ross brought home third in the boys run to advance to the state championships.
   Happy Valley's girls team, Elizabethton and Happy Valley's boys squads all qualified for the meet next Saturday in Nashville. But it was a special day for our local winners.
   "I was not getting second this year," said Williams after her run. "I got it the past two years. I knew if I stayed within pretty good range, I could stay with (Sullivan Central's Anna Ringley).
   "I tried to give it my all. I've been training really hard; staying focused, eating right, and training right. I'd like to thank my family, coaches, boyfriend and teammates for helping me there."
   Williams finished third place last year in the state meet.
   "I finished third last year, so this year I'll be shooting for the top three," she said. "Anna Giles of Knox Catholic will be tough."
   For Hughes, this year will be another shot at winning the state title he felt short of grabbing last year.
   "I came over here to finish," said Hughes. "I was worried about falling apart in the second lap. I got sick yesterday, but I just wanted to strive out and finish up hard.
   "I've got my eyes on that big goal of winning the state. I hope I can get over the flu, I've worked a long time to get the state title. I won the Tennessee Classic this year, was second to Austin Weaver last year, and he is at Notre Dame now."
   Elizabethton's Andy Ross was happy with his performance.
   Said Ross: "It was a beautiful day and a great race. I was trying to catch Todd Skelton, and it was the closest I've been to him all year.
   "I'm looking forward to state, there'll be some guys there to catch me. It'll be a good course. I'm wanting to get that all-state award, which is the top fifteen. I've got to give all I've got left."
   Said Goulds: "It's great getting to know that we're going to state. We really worked hard this year, and we're focused more as a team than as individuals this year.
   "Last year, we didn't go as a team and it wasn't the same. But this was a tough course, much rougher than the state."
   Elizabethton's Jessica Carpenter made the state girls run with her seventh-place finish as the lone runner for the Cyclones.
   Sullivan Central took both of the team awards in A/AA, pulling a four-second margin over Elizabethon in the boys, with the girls taking just over a second from Happy Valley.