As we continue our region previews for Friday's state qualifier, we head to Knoxville.
Starting in the AAA classification, region two possesses some of the state's best runners.
And in the girls meet, Hardin Valley is a major player at the state level.
Shila Kapaya is the favorite to win the individual competition at Cherokee Boulevard on Friday. She's the only girl to run sub-18:30 this season in region two.
Her Knoxville Catholic team sits in sixth in the initial projections. But with the help of No. 2 runner Callie Tucker, who has the fifth fastest time in the region, the Fighting Irish have a shot to grab the final qualifying spot for the State Meet.
Out in front, Hardin Valley's tight pack makes them the favorite. Cathryn Jardet, Jenna Wall and Madison Grimm should all be able to finish in the top ten. In fact, the Hawks could put their entire top seven in the top 40 finishers.
|1||Hardin Valley Academy||41|
|1) Cathryn Jardet||18:35.09||3|
|2) Jenna Wall||19:32.86||6|
|3) Madison Grimm||19:37.04||8|
|4) Ellie Bachmann||19:44.26||11|
|5) Kensi Gray||19:58.62||13|
|Average Time: 19:29.57 1-5 Split: 1:23.53|
|6) Taylor Van Hout||20:22.82||20|
|7) Madison Buckles||21:39.86||35|
That would seal the victory for HVA, who is projected to finish with just 41 points.
The Rebels have the slight advantage thanks to their top five all being ranked in the top 30, but Oak Ridge will rely on Genevieve Schwarz to secure a top ten finish and help the Wildcats advance. That race for the third place spot should be a close one.
Their team will follow suit in Region II-AAA.
In its first year at this new classification, Knoxville Catholic comes in as the favorite with 56 points.
|1||Knoxville Catholic High School||56|
|1) Jake Renfree||15:19.00||1|
|2) Devin Sullivan||15:40.87||2|
|3) Jacob Pettinger||16:32.40||14|
|4) Ethan Tornstrom||16:32.57||15|
|5) Riley Smith||16:54.82||24|
|Average Time: 16:11.93 1-5 Split: 1:35.82|
|6) Hayden Trent||18:57.01||60|
|7) Parker Slough||21:10.00||84|
After the Fighting Irish, there's a tight group of teams battling for the final two spots.
Farragut and Oak Ridge are tied with 92 points based on season best times this season. So those two teams are likely to join Catholic at the State Meet.
But Seth Bowden and Maryville will have a shot to advance as well. Bowden's season best of 15:48 makes him the fourth fastest runner in 2-AAA coming into the region competition. If he can hold his own in that top five, then the Rebels will have a shot to move on.
L&N STEM Academy's Laura Bretscher is the fastest runner in A-AA this season by over a minute and a half.
And her teammate Brooke Foster has the second fastest time in the region.
With their leadership, L&N STEM Academy will almost certainly win the Region 2-A-AA team title.
|1||L & N STEM Academy||23|
|1) Laura Bretscher||18:56.46||1|
|2) Brooke Foster||20:45.81||2|
|3) Deja Griffin||22:03.83||4|
|4) Channing Gentry||22:31.43||6|
|5) Mary Mader||25:22.74||10|
|Average Time: 21:56.05 1-5 Split: 6:26.28|
|6) Brodrieka Maxwell-dav||26:13.10||12|
|7) Molly Erickson||26:57.70||16|
But Alcoa High School has a shot to move on as well. The Tornadoes will need a big day from Kaitlyn Newman, who comes in seeded fifth in the region. Jenna Martin (No. 9) will also play a big role in helping Alcoa advance to next week's state competition.
With four runners seeded in the top ten, L&N Stem Academy's boys team is also the big favorite to win the region two championship.
|1||L & N STEM Academy||35|
|1) Seth Jinks||16:22.05||1|
|2) Jackson Sparks||17:54.71||6|
|3) James Defreese||18:33.61||7|
|4) Evan Carr||18:50.77||10|
|5) Connor McGinley||18:54.69||11|
|Average Time: 18:07.17 1-5 Split: 2:32.64|
|6) Haddon Bryant||19:51.83||19|
|7) Nicholas Duncan||20:18.49||25|
But watch out for Alcoa. The Tornadoes bring in two guys who could run in the top five of the race. That includes Samir Koko and Nick Holloway. With their leadership, the Tornadoes are also big favorites to advance.
GP has the edge on the point projections followed by Kingston, but Northview Academy has the fourth fastest average time among its top five. If Emerson Fulton can finish second, where he's seeded, that'll be a big boost to Gatlinburg-Pittman's chances of advancing.