Cyclone harriers eye state crown

Photo by John Bryant

  You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jim -- or the Fighting Cyclones' cross country team.
  While the song might not be about Cyclone coach Jim Presnell nor his sensational seven runners, the boys have earned the respect of all class A/AA teams with their performance on the various courses during the 2004 campaign.
  "We know that the competition will tough, as the prize will be for a state championship," stated Presnell. "Franklin Road Academy and David Lipscomb will be the top teams in the meet along with us."
  Franklin Road Academy is the four-time defending state champion. 'Betsy would love nothing more than to knock the Panthers from atop their perch.
  "I feel like we've got as good of chance as anybody," added Presnell. "Our team is well-rested yet our physical condition is the best that it can be."
  Presnell tried to take a different approach after finishing runner-up in last year's state championship.
  "We didn't back off like we did last year," he said. "Our quantity was lower but the quality was much higher. We worked on speed along with mental preparation this past week."
  Josh Jaynes, David McDaniel and Ryan Green finished one, two and three in last week's regional championship meet at Daniel Boone. Corey Henson and Caleb McDaniel added a sixth and 10th-place finish, respectively.
  The key to the state title might be how well numbers five through seven run in this meet. Joseph Basconi, Ryan Green and Caleb McDaniel could decide the outcome if the top four run the way they have in previous races.
  When asked if the weather might be a factor, Presnell responded: "I don't think it will have an effect on us. Our kids have run under every condition possible this season. This group of kids will be mentally tough under any circumstances."
  "They're predicting around 60 degrees, so this would be almost the perfect setting. Last year it was very hot. The heat can have a much different effect on runners than other weather conditions."
  A total of 24 teams with between 150 and 200 runners will take part in the meet.
  "This is what we've worked for everyday," Presnell said. "I think our kids will be up to the challenge."
  Five Lady Cyclones will take part in the meet. Regina Basconi, Courtney Towle, Lindsey McAmis, Kendra Perkins and Laura Bowman will wear the orange and black while Happy Valley's Ashley Flynn and Shanna Raines will run for the Warriors.
  Basconi finished fourth in last week's regional while Flynn added a sixth-place finish.
  The meet will be held at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, beginning at 10 a.m. CST.