We continue our preseason rankings with the Girls Division I Large Schools.
Whitehaven won the state championship last year with 89 points. But Brentwood wasn't far behind, finishing runners-up with 83.
To open up this outdoor season, those two teams are in the lead. They're followed by a logjam of squads that aren't too far behind. Here are our preseason team rankings in the D1 Large Schools division.
1. Whitehaven High School
The defending champs get the nod here. They've been there and done that.
And they're led by the state's fastest female sprinter -- Kirstin Jones. Jones currently has the top returning time in the division for both 100 and 200 meters with 11.90 and 24.50. She'll likely also qualify for the state meet in the 400 as well.
Jones has the ability to score 25-30 points at the state championship this May. But the Tigers have exceptional sprint depth that well help them in both relays and individual events.
Emani Johnson is one of the top intermediate hurdlers in the state. Taylor Macklin is also a point scorer in both the shot and discus. This team can be quite good with the leadership of those three athletes.
2. Brentwood High School
Last year's runner up will be back even stronger this season. Katherine Coffey is a big reason why. She's the top thrower in the state at any classification. So there's a good chance she'll be able to sweep both throwing events all season long. Riley Coggin and Emily Jay will be able to contend for points in the 800 and 1600 meters.
But the real strength of this team is in the field. Specifically, the jumps.
Katie Woods is one of the top pole vaulters in the state. She placed fifth at the AAA state meet last year with a 10 foot jump. Her personal best is 10-6. Emily Thruschel has a 5-4 personal best in the high jump, which makes her a contender in that event.
Grace Gamboa's 36-0 PB in the triple jump will be a top mark at most local meets this season. Meg Wilson's 18-3.5 career-best will score some points as well. The Bruins are deep in the field. Without sprint relays, they'd be the odds-on favorite to win the state title. But for now, they come in at No. 2 in our preliminary rankings.
3. White Station High School
Jamaya Fleming and Kourtnie Kelly make White Station a contender for another state championship. Fleming is in the top three for 100 and 200 meters entering the season. Kelly will also be able to score some points in both of those events.
Fleming scored points last year for the Spartans. She'll be able to do so in the 4x100 and 4x200 alongside Kelly all season. Coming into the season, Fleming is projected to score 14 points at the state meet just in the 100 and 200 alone.
Elsewhere, White Station has some talented athletes in the field as well. Kristen Horton comes into the season with a 36-1.25 personal best in the triple jump. That's the fourth-best mark in the division coming into the season. Kaitlin McDade will also be able to score points in the hurdles with her 15.10 personal best.
Fleming and Kelly are a dangerous combo in the sprints. But this is a deep team with real potential to make a run for a state title in May.
4. Memphis Central High School
Central is led by the fastest 100m hurdler in the state. Jordyn Braswell comes in with a 14.27 personal best, which would score ten points at the state meet.
In the throws, Brittney Ivory has the third best mark coming into the season in the shot put. Her career-best throw of 40-2 would score lots of points this outdoor season. Kynadi Kuykendoll has the second-best triple jump personal best entering the outdoor season. She jumped 37-7.5 last April.
Dashara Grandberry will also have a chance to pick up a few points in the 100. She comes into the season with a personal best of 12.17.
Central is balanced. And they'll have lots of entries at the state meet. We think they've got an excellent chance go finish the year as one of the top four or five teams in any classification.
5. Oakland High School
Imani Udoumana has the potential to score 30 points by herself at this year's state championship. That makes Oakland a force to be reckoned with all season long.
Udoumana has a league-best PB of 37-10 in the triple jump. She's also jumped 18-4 in the long jump, which will score some major points. And it's likely that Udoumana will compete in both the high and intermediate hurdles in May. Her 14.82 PB in the 100m hurdles is the second-fastest mark in all of the Large Schools.
So she makes the Patriots a contender this season by herself. Chandler Salvig (35-2.25 long jump) is the only other Patriot projected to qualify for the state meet. But it might not matter. If Udoumana can perform close to her personal best marks from last year, Oakland can be a wild card team to watch this season.
Honorable Mention: Ravenwood High School, Hardin Valley Academy, Houston High School, West High School