Tennessee's Guide to New Balance Nationals


The end of indoor is here.

This weekend, the 2018 New Balance Nationals will conclude the indoor track season. And Tennessee has a large group of athletes traveling up to New York to compete.

This is your ultimate guide to the meet, complete with race times, individual performances to watch for and potential champions from the state of Tennessee.

Boys Two Mile -- Sunday 1:26 PM ET

The boys championship two mile will feature three Tennesseans. All three had big races on a national stage to conclude their cross country seasons.

The headliner is Brodey Hasty, who comes in as the defending champion. He hasn't run a two mile yet this indoor season. That's because he's focused on breaking four in the mile. He got awfully close, running 4:00.05 at the Millrose Games. 

Last year, Hasty edged out Noah Affolder for the national title, running 8:45 for a US No. 1 to finish the indoor season. Back in November, Hasty ran a 9:08 at the Hoka Postal tuneup for Nike Southeast. 

Jake Renfree and Carter Coughlin will run in Hasty's heat as well. Renfree is the indoor state champion in the two mile. He won that race in 9:11 two weeks ago. Coughlin had the best time in the state before Renfree's state title. The Webb senior ran 9:13 to win the UK High School Invite the week before the state competition.

All three will race out of heat two at 1:26 PM. The meet record is 8:40, which isn't too far off what Hasty put down at this meet last year. This race will be good. And it's probably the best chance for a Tennessee athlete to bring home a national championship.

Boys Shot Put -- Saturday 5:00 PM ET

Bearden senior Joshua Sobota has an excellent chance to place in the top three, if not win, the boys shot put. 

Sobota has been near the top of the national leaderboard all season. His season best (67-5.75) is twenty feet better than the second-best throw in Tennessee. That's also the third-best mark in the country so far this season.

The two competitors ahead of him this season (Tyson Jones and John Meyer) won't be at New Balance Nationals. So it's Sobota's competition to win.

Virginia's Jabari Bennett is a dark-horse candidate here. Bennett had only thrown 57-7.25 in his career after outdoor last May. But this indoor season has been huge for him. In that time he's improved his personal best by seven feet, launching a 64-6.5 throw to win the 6A Virginia State Championship a few weeks ago.

Sobota finished third at last year's New Balance Outdoor meet. At that competition, he threw 65-11. If he matches his season best mark of 67 feet or better, he'll win the national championship on Saturday night.

Girls Two Mile -- Sunday 9:40 AM ET

Another Brentwood two-miler will compete on Sunday. Sophomore Beth Donnelly has been the top girls miler in the state all season. She'll race in heat one of the girls two mile against a talented field on Sunday morning.

Donnelly has some momentum at this distance right now. She won the indoor state meet in 10:47 a few weeks ago in Nashville. That's the sixth-fastest two mile time in America so far this season. But she'll have her work cut out for her against an elite field.

Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek, Ohio) is another talented sophomore who's run sub-11 this season. Ewert is ranked right behind Donnelly on the sophomore two mile standings thus far. Only five sophomore girls have broken 11 minutes this season, and two of them will race in section one on Sunday.

Girls Sprint Medley Relay -- Saturday 1:55 PM ET

The Hardin Valley Academy girls will race in heat four of the sprint medley relay. The first section starts at 1:55 PM.

The 1600 meter relay features 200-200-400-800. The Hawks have Dominique Romain, Timaya Ray, Kensi Gray and Ellie Bachmann scheduled to compete in that order. 

Romain was the top middle school sprinter in East Tennessee last year. She ran 26.64 at the Knox County Middle School Championships. She also didn't lose a 200 all year last season as an eighth grader. Ray finished fourth at the state meet in the 200 last year as a freshman. Her personal best in high school is 24.96, which she ran to win the Volunteer Track Classic last year at UT. She also placed second at the indoor state meet a few weeks ago.

Gray was fifth at the state meet in the 800 last year. Bachmann won the 800 at the Indoor State Meet just last month. On Saturday, she'll have a good opportunity to run close to her new personal best (2:16) against a talented group of runners. 

Brentwood will also face some elite competition in the distance medley relay. We'll have a full preview on that race later this weekend.

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