TN State Indoor Championship Track and Field Meet
There is certainly something really enjoyable or even surreal about going to an indoor track and field meet. No wind. No cold temperatures. No snow or chilly rain. But when it comes down to it, the athletes are impervious to all that and just there to compete. This indoor meet is really just in its infancy and so you can't expect to see any real break the bank performances. Well, that might be what you were thinking walking into the Vanderbilt indoor complex this mid-February Sunday. That's where the reality sets in.
Yes, the scheduling and fact that the meet was on a Sunday had some impact on some athlete's schedules. Some athletes couldn't make the Sunday schedule, some had other commitments, and some even went as far as having surgery to get a bye this week (joking!)! But with this meet in its third year and building momentum, the success of this meet and the athletic performances we are seeing each time has been, well, beyond expectations!
When I think of indoor meets, I'm usually thinking more towards the sprint events over the distance. But at this meet on Sunday, the performances were across the board great! Considering the meet is only in its third year running, you'd expect to see records broken. I'm not about to enter into a competition for this, but I've wondered if the boys do better during the indoor or do the girls? With more and more girls delving into this sport, you might have a tendency to think maybe the girls are outdoing the boys in the sport. But get this, 9 records for the boys and 9 records for the girls. So using the records broken as a standard, it's a tie. Oh yea, 18 records broken at this meet this year.
Well, let me throw in another variable. Tyra Gittens jumped to a 1.77M record in the high jump that comes in as a national #2 mark. Then Niamh Schumacher runs the 2 mile in a blistering 10:24.87 that was also a national #2 mark. So from that perspective, looks like the girls may have an edge on the performance gradient at this meet. A couple of national marks like that will do that for you!
However, maybe the team point totals would be a better predictor for who really dominated the boy's vs girl's competition. With the top two boy's teams totaling 133 points between them, you might want to lean towards the boys getting the better marks for the "better" performances. But then again, there is a 52 point spread between the first place team and the eight place team. On the other hand, the girls had only a 26 point spread between the first place team and the 12th place team. To me, that could just mean the girls are a lot closer in talent and make for a more competitive spirit when it comes to track and field. But then again, maybe they have nothing to do with each other!
Bottom line though, this state meet turned out to be a pretty exciting Track & Field meet to be a part of. Oh yea, The Girls team competition was won by Brentwood High School and runner up was Hardin Valley Academy. And for the boys, well, just flip flop the standings and you'll see who got the team title. I'm wondering how this all will translate to the outdoor season that is coming up soon? Can't say for sure but if anything, looking through the list of schools with athletes competing in this indoor event, we can say one thing for sure - Track & Field in this state is on a huge upswing. So you know you can count on seeing some really fantastic athletes competing at the state championships... be it indoors or outdoors!
With a little time on my hands, let's run through some of the performances at this meet. The boys 60M dash was won by Kedrick Wilbanks of Red Bank in a meet record 6.96 and the same accolades go to Nicole Johnson of Tyner Academy with her 7.61. Both these athletes had great starts but the last twenty or so meters were the deciding factor to take the wins. Continuing on with the sprint events, both the 200M dash races were something to watch as Donovan Whitmore took the win in a TN #3 spot in 22.03. Kethlin Campbell set the fastest TN time with her 24.71 mark and Tia Davis was second in 25.31, which also happens to be the second fastest mark this indoor season for the girls.
Another fast race was the 400 Girls, with the first three finishers getting the #1, #2 and #4 marks for TN. Payton Barlow of White House came in at an even 57.00, followed by Riley White in 57.02 and then Alayah Dozier in 57.70. As a matter of fact, the top 6 finishers in this race set marks inside the top 10 for the indoor rankings for the state. I believe I said this before, but Track and Field in this state is growing and we certainly are seeing that impact the level of athleticism across the board.
The guys 800M race was won by Max Benson of Brentwood High in 1:56.73 which would put him in the top 5 for the outdoor season for returning athletes and certainly give him a lot of confidence to better his 1:55 he set last year in May at the Vanderbilt Great 8 meet. The girl's race for this middle distance event was a close one for sure. The top indoor runner for this event could not make this race because of appendix surgery after the Vanderbilt indoor, but a lot of athletes in this event came to run. There were ten marks set at this meet Sunday that are now in the top 20 for the state! Three of these girls ran under 2:20 at the meet, with Jessica Lord (Morristown-West) taking the win in just over half a second in front of Riley Coggin. Jessica ran 2:17.80 that set the #2 mark in TN this indoor season and Riley tagged the #3 spot with her 2:18.32 mark.
And without much fanfare, let's talk about a couple of the distance races. Coming into this race, Brentwood's superstar distance runner, Brodey Hastey was likely one of the most talk about anticipated races. Brodey came into the meet entered in both the mile and two mile. Running the two mile first in a very tactical win, and a little slower than what he ran a couple weeks ago at the same track, Brodey wins the race in 9:36.92. Sitting back in the lead pack for a while, which by the way was a very large lead pack, Brodey waited out the race until about two laps to go and then just turned on the burners and sprinted to victory. This guy is a lot of fun to watch in a race and it's truly great to see him come into this meet knowing he's done a lot of racing lately and could have been a bit tired. So, in a span of about 4 weeks, Brodey decides to run the mile in a few fairly well known meets. The David Oliver Classic (4:16.58), Vanderbilt Indoor (4:14.53), Milrose Games (4:08.04), and then the State Indoor (4:16.03). So being a bit tired is understandable, however his time for the mile here was still within the top 20 of the national mile marks. So, it's a lot to write in one paragraph, but some pretty impressive running for sure.
Covering a few of the field events, Brentwood's Katherine Coffey set a meet record in the shot with her 12.78 mark (41-11.25). That was just under her mark of 42-0.25 set a couple weeks earlier, but should put her on the watch list for the state outdoor title coming in May. Joshua Sobota of Bearden took the boys title in the shot with 17.77 toss (a 58-3.5 conversion). That throw will put him at the top of the outdoor standings for returning athletes and certainly puts him at the second best throw for indoors among TN athletes. Joshua, by the way, does hold the top indoor shot mark at 58-10.75 that he set a couple weeks ago on the very same track at Vanderbilt.
The girl's pole vault could likely be considered one of the best events at this indoor State Championships. Taylor Picket leads off the group with a meet record 12-0 vault. Then Brittany Bishop came in at 11-0 and the next three athletes at 10-2. That put the top five athlete's marks at this meet are also the top five marks for the state indoor rankings as well. Needless to say, these girls had some pretty good time at this meet.
For the boy's side on the vaulting competition, Jacob Sobota added to his indoor wins with the title here when he vaulted 15-2.25. A little under his best at this site, a 16-1 at the Vanderbilt indoor a couple weeks ago, but still a meet record that is likely going to be hard to match for the next few years. And this after just two jumps! Cole Shea tagged the runner up spot with his 14-3.25 vault.
This indoor meet only has two relays to contest, the 4x400 and the Distance Medley. Three of the four races set new meet records here. The DMR for both girls and boys were new meet records. The girls team from Ravenwood that ran a 13:08.73 in the distance medley consisted of Hetherington, Hanley, Strevell, and Kuban (sorry, I didn't have all the first names here, so my apologies... but really, great race here!!). The boy's team that set the record was with Joel Barlow, Baylor Franklin, Nathanial Peterson and John Elrod who all together set a time of 10:25.54. On the 4x400 the boy's team from Hardin Valley Academy ran a 3:28.57 record time. That time is the second fastest in the state, and keep in mind that these relays are made up of teams that are all from the same high school.
With a lack of time, but not a lack of performances to talk about, I'll have to close out the article for today. As is the case we see when it comes to a track meet of this caliber, the athletes become the stars and always come out on top. This meet is still in its infancy and as all infants go, will only get bigger and hungrier! And thanks again to the KYA folks, for both providing me with some stats for the meet and for putting on another great meet!
Now, as we close out the indoor season for most of us, I'm looking forward to seeing you all during the outdoor season. The indoor season is always a great slingshot to entering the outdoor season. The training needed to handle the winter season is always a great character builder to entering the outdoor season. We hope all of you athletes continue with the great athletic performances and dedication to the Track and Field sport! Good luck in the spring!
See you on the track,