Cyclones deliver state-title goods

Photo by Jeff Birchfield
Coach Jim Presnell and his Cyclone cross-country team basks in the glow of the state championship they won Saturday morning in Nashville. See Page 1A for a story about the victory.

  NASHVILLE -- With three runners finishing in the top 10 of the Tennessee high school cross-country meet, Elizabethton easily captured the TSSAA Class A-AA State Championship at Percy Warner Park on Saturday morning.
  Adam Green led the way, falling less than a half second of winning the state's individual honors. David McDaniel placed eighth out of 160 runners, with Josh Jaynes on his heels in ninth.
  The rest of the roster added plenty of punch with Corey Jenson, Joseph Basconi, Caleb McDaniel and Ryan Green finishing within positions 20-48.
  "I don't know what to say," said an elated EHS head coach Jim Presnell. "I felt like we could do this, but you hold your breath.
  "We worked all year long for this day right here. From top to bottom it was truly a team effort."
  Adam Green made a furious bid for the top individual spot in the race's closing stages. He cut a three-second gap held by Chattanooga Arts' Jordan Longstreth to .4 seconds over the final quarter-mile.
  "I saw he was slowing down and I knew I had a little left in me," said Adam. "I decided to go for it.
  "The flat ground makes it easier compared to the hills and terrain back home. This is great for the team. We ran our best."
  Adam Green's time was 15:55.9, with David McDaniel and teammate Jaynes at 16:23 and 16:26 respectively.
  "This is the first time Elizabethton has won one," said Jaynes. "I didn't have my best individual race, but I am so happy we won as a team I don't care.
  "We knew Coach Presnell would lead us the whole way. He gave us the perfect training for the state championship."
  Jordan Wilson of David Lipscomb finished third in the state with Sullivan Central's Chris Blackburn in fourth.
  Likewise, Central finished fourth in the team results. The overall points showed Elizabethton with 68. Franklin Road Academy at 95 points and Lipscomb 98. Local entry University High finished 16th out of the 24 teams.
  For the Cyclones, the victory was made sweeter by the fact they came just two points shy of winning the state last year.
  "Every bit of our training is worth it," said David McDaniel. "We ran 10 miles up Holston Mountain, we did speed drills. No weather held us back.
  "We were the toughest team out there. Losing by two points is devastating. We did everything the same preparing this year, just added more volume."
  Presnell joins a prestigious list of active coaches (Happy Valley's Charlie Bayless and Unaka's Donald Ensor, both in basketball) from Carter County who have won state championships.
  For the school, which had a track relay team win the state in 2003, it was the first team championship since the 1938 football Cyclones.
  "It's pretty special to do," admitted Presnell. "No team competiting at our high school has won a state championship.
  "I tell the kids the whole season points to today. I stressed last night to be ready to perform, you don't get a second chance. They ran their best race all year. The 4-5-6 guys came through and the 1-2-3 runners ran real strong."
  Later in the day, in the private school division, Brentwood Academy's Andrew Bumbalough shattered the state's individual record. His winning time of 14:14 bested the old record by 27 seconds.
  The Elizabethon girls team also competed in state action, finishing 12th overall. A story on their day is in today's sports section.