Williams, Goulds set for final chance

By Wes Holtsclaw
Katie Williams and Kortney Goulds are hoping to save the best for last this weekend.
After three solid seasons of vying for a state championship, the senior duo from Happy Valley will get one final chance for a state title at the State Cross Country meet this Saturday in Nashville at Percy Warner Park's Steeplechase Course.
The Happy Valley Lady Warrior team, anchored by Williams and Goulds, swept the regional and district meets with the team championships, and are wanting to fare well after placing fourth overall in last year's team event.
"It's like I tell everybody, I hope we finish better this year," said Happy Valley coach Don Verran. "We only had five last year and this year we have seven. Our chances are better because we are stronger, we know more and we are wise with expirience. I hope we can run better."
Across town, the Elizabethton Cyclone boys squad will be making another state meet.
The Cyclones finished 12th in last year's event and want to build off runner-up finishes in the region and district.
Elizabethton's boys finished runner-up in the regional team event at Daniel Boone. They also placed second in the district meet, where John Ross and Adam Green finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
In last year's girls event, Williams finished seventh and and Goulds eighth.
Williams finished third her sophomore year, while Goulds placed 10th aside from Williams' 14th place finish in 2000.
Williams has the potential to make the all-state ranks for the fourth time, while Goulds can earn her third honor.
"We've got some good captains," Verran said. "Katie can make all-state her fourth time and Kortney would've done the same except for an injury her sophomore year."
"Their leadership and expirience has furnished the other girls and they've let them know that we've got to go for it this year."
The Lady Warriors have had the proper build-up this season, as Happy Valley won the girls team events at the district and region meets.
Williams finished second in the region after winning the district. Goulds finished third in both region and district meets.
However, the state meets pit the Lady Warriors and Cyclones up against close to 300 other participants. It will be tough at the Steeplechase course.
"It's more wide open there with no sharp turns," added Verran. "I think you've got to run downhill more often. Our girls are natural and should do better with longer legs."
"Hopefully, we can manage it well," he said. "I'm kind of worried about 300 getting in the way, but it's something to see with all of those lined up."
It's much tougher to catch up in a state event due to the number of participants. Verran has stressed the importance to get out early in order to compete.
"If you get behind at first, it's hard to catch up," he said. "You've got to get out early because there are some kids not knowing what they're doing and there's some that just get in the way."
The girls will run at 10 a.m. CST, while the boys take off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.