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Decathlon, Pentathlon gives young athletes experience

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By Chris Cannon

ccannon@lafollettepress.com

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JOHNSON CITY - The 2013 decathlon and pentathlon wasn’t an average year for Campbell County High School track team.

Three sophomores and one freshman joined the ranks with senior Brandon Long to participate in the two-day event held at Science Hill High School.

For the team, it’s thrilling to have so many young athletes participating.

“That just shows you what our team is going to be like in two or three years – the capabilities of our team,” coach Billie Anne Evans said. “Out of 30 to 35 kids, we have eight seniors. There might be two or three juniors, and the rest of them are sophomores and freshmen. Do you know how exciting that is?”

Evans said that this year’s underclassmen, combined with the upcoming eighth graders, should make for a lethal combination.

According to coach Anne Browning, it’s the makings of a team that can carry on the tradition the high school has in track and field.

“What does that say about the future of the program?” she said. “I wish that more people realized what great track athletes we do have. Track has always had a tradition here of doing well. In the past, we’ve got a total of 11 state champions.”

Long went to this year’s decathlon with hopes of becoming the 12th, as he was looking to qualify for the state decathlon.

However, things didn’t quite pan out the way he would have liked.

“It started out going pretty good on the first day,” the senior said. “I got to my fourth event, and I hurt my ankle doing triple jump. That really bothered me the rest of the decathlon, and I didn’t get to do as well as I’d planned on.”

For Browning, however, it was impressive to see the senior push through the pain to take a 16th place finish.

“We are just so proud of them, because it does take a certain amount of mental and physical toughness to go and compete,” Browning said. “Brandon got hurt the first day on triple jump – really rolled his ankle. It wasn’t comfortable for him to continue on, but he made the decision he was going to finish. He stuck with it and did really well.”

Dakota Dossett, Long’s sophomore counterpart, was glad to have Long with him in the events.

As the senior had been to the decathlon last year, he was able to guide Dossett through the steps.

“He kind of coached me on the things I’d never done,” Dossett said. “Pole vault. That was the first jump I’d ever done, at the decathlon.”

For Long, it was an opportunity he’s glad he got.

“I loved it,” Long said. “I like trying to help people and everything. It was pretty great, just being there to do the events with him and help him out so that he can do better throughout his career.”

His career should be a bright one, too.

The sophomore finished 13th overall in his first competition at the decathlon.

“I know a bunch of people that beat me were either juniors or seniors,” Dossett said. “They’ll be gone, and I’m definitely going to put more work into this.”

Another athlete that’s looking to have a promising career is Lindsay King.

King finished in the top 20 of the pentathlon, but that wasn’t her most impressive feat.

On Friday night, the freshman runner took Most Valuable Player honors at the Dale Legg Invitational at Anderson County High School.

“I thought it was very impressive,” Evans said. “As a freshman, she finished first in the long jump, first in the 300-(hurdles), third in the (100-hurdles) – which her teammate was one of them – and she was on our 4x400 team. I thought it was pretty impressive for a freshman got get MVP over Oak Ridge, Anderson County, Halls, Lenoir City. When I checked the book, there was not another girl that got two first places.”

Although King didn’t finish as high as she’d like in the pentathlon, she said she’s going to keep trying.

“We’ve just got to keep on going,” King said. “It may be hard, but you’ve just got to keep pushing and trying to be your best.”

Olivia Brown and Rachel Nelson each had a big event, as they also placed in the top 20.

“We were so excited,” Brown said. “There were a lot of people that were older and better than we were, but we were pretty excited. We did pretty good.”