The top ranked D1 Small school athletes have all qualified for the state championships coming up this Saturday. Seth Jinks of L&N STEM Academy, Alex Ponce of Hyde Magnet and Porter Bradley of University School of Johnson City have all run in the 16's this season. Seth won the Region 2 meet, Alex Ponce did the same for his Region (5) and Porter Bradley finished out these three sub 17 athletes with wins by taking the Region 1 championship as well. Garrison Wheeler, the 4th ranked for the class also won the Region 3 championship and that adds his name to the top athletes to keep an eye on this Saturday. Here's one catch watching this race though, none of these guys posted top ten results at last year's state championships. In my opinion, that should make these guys even more motivated to put in a really strong race Saturday!
This year, the D1 small school division is the last race of the day, scheduled to start at 2:30pm. It appears that if the Signal Mountain guys can hold themselves to their rank in the division, they could very well be the top team across the line. University School of Johnson City seems in a good position to challenge them. It all comes down to the 3rd, 4th and 5th place runners, which is the case in almost every cross country team title! Let's cross our fingers and hope the rain stays away so these guys can hit the course hard and on time!
Virtual Meet Boys Estimate:
|1||Signal Mountain High School||62||4+5+13+19+21 (23+34)||1:04.45||17:36.80|
|2||University School of Johnson City||75||3+10+15+20+27 (32+36)||1:42.19||17:42.91|
|3||L & N STEM Academy||136||1+17+29+44+45 (107+138)||2:32.64||18:07.17|
For the Girls D1 Small, Loral Winn of Dresden and Laura Bretscher of L&N STEM Academy look like they are going to be the two girls to watch this year. They both have times under the 19 minute mark, but something that might be worth noting is that both ran those faster times early on in the season. Laura just won the Region 2 meet by a pretty big margin. Not sure if that's a sign of anything, but it does make her someone you can't write off as being in the lead at the end of the race Saturday. Certainly something to consider, but with Loral running pretty strong this year... well, who knows.
Anna Johnson, Loral's teammate, could play the role of a spoiler with her recent Region 7 win. And you might keep an eye on Kaelyn Meier of Merrol Hyde Magnet to add her name to the spoiler role as well. Kaelyn just won the Region 6 small school race in a 20:38.47 which is on the Steeplechase course. This division had probably the biggest impact with the TSSAA classification changes and so I don't see a repeat of the runaway finish like last season. And really, any number of girls could make a mark for themselves Saturday here.
Girls Virtual Meet estimate:
|1||Signal Mountain High School||56||5+11+12+13+15 (34+44)||1:49.74||21:11.45|
|2||University School of Johnson City||91||6+10+18+28+29 (38+45)||2:28.66||21:47.12|
|3||White House-Heritage High School||135||7+16+33+37+42 (48+137)||2:33.02||22:20.29|
See you at the Steeplechase course!