GRAY — In what amounted to a final tuneup before next week’s Times-News Relays and sub-sectional activity, the Elizabethton track and field team competed at Daniel Boone’s Nathan S. Hale Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Among the competitors were Daniel Boone, University High, West Greene, Greeneville, Sullivan Central, Tri-Cities Christian and EHS. No team scores were kept, but individual scores could go toward achieving state qualifying times.
“This is really kind of a final tuneup before the relays on Tuesday,” said Daniel Boone head coach Len Jeffers. “Most teams brought the players that needed work or were looking to get some better times in for qualifying.”
Some of the Cyclones posted personal records, and a few had to deal with some disappointment. Nikolai Simpson had a discus throw of 113-9 1/2, which would have placed him in the top five — but Simpson was not pleased.
“I am very disappointed,” Simpson said. “The circle here is pretty slick, but that’s no excuse. I have to do better and I am capable of doing a lot better.”
Simpson currently has a personal best of 152, and is confident he can equal or better it. For shot putter Tori Cruz, it was a day for a new personal best as she had a toss of 32-2 •••, which bettered her previous mark of 32.
“My last one slipped out,” said Cruz. “But my first throw was half an inch better than my record. I was trying to break 32 feet and I did. I have a lot of fun training and competing; you have to really want it and work for it.”
In the boys’ 100/110 hurdles, Hunter Hughes posted an 18.74, while West Greene’s Greg Lawson took first with a 16.56 mark.
In the boys’ 4×800 relay, the Cyclones’ team of Dustin Heaton, Sullivan McInturff, Brandon Taylor and Kyle Hanson scored a 10:06.18.
“That’s a respectable time,” commented Cyclones coach Aaron Wood. “Two of the four broke personal records, but it was a great run for all four.”
The boys 1,600 meter race saw both Nathan May and Brandon Taylor come in under six minutes with 5:43.10 and 5:50.53 times respectively.
The 400-meter event had Drew Holsclaw set a personal record time of 54.76, and he easily won his heat and set the top time in the meet in that distance.
“I have been working hard every day,” Holsclaw said. “Hard work pays off and it did tonight. I think that may have been a qualifying time. I feel like I can still cut some time off my run.
“Lester Bailey is a guy I set as a role model. He won a state championship, but it’s not all about raw talent. You have to combine that raw talent with hard work and that’s what I am trying to do.”
Stewart Clark ran a brisk 55.2 as he nearly topped out in his heat, but came up a little short in the stretch.
“He had a little better kick than I did,” Clark said. “I gave it everything I had and nearly got my best which is 55 flat. But it feels great to be here competing against these guys. I like racing against bigger schools, it turns the competition level higher.”
In the final boys race of the evening, EHS ran the 4×400 in a time of 3:49.54. The four included Clark, Coby Atwell, Cody Baker and Henson.
For the girls, Abbi Pierce ran the 400 meters in 1:03.6 and Haley Kaylon came in at 1:11.4. Pierce also ran the 200 meters in 28.98, which was second on the squad to Kyla McCrary — who posted a 28.50.
“I felt I could have been faster,” Pierce said. “I haven’t run these distances in a while — I normally run the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. I’m trying to qualify for those distances, but I did what I had to do in the sprints.”
In the 300 hurdles, Katie May finished third with a time of 53.43 and Kayla Lyons turned in a time of 2:47 in the 800 meters.
The girls also ran the 4×800 with Keylon, Katie May, McCrary and Mandy Largent and placed a time of 11:26.07.
The Cyclones’ next meet will be the Times-News Relays next Tuesday.