Last week it was Middle Tennessee in the spotlight.
But this weekend, East and West Tennessee take center stage for "week one" meets around Knoxville and Memphis.
There are two big competitions on the calendar for Labor Day Weekend: The Victor Ashe Park Fall Classic and the Brooks Memphis Twilight Classic.
In Knoxville, the Ashe Park Classic is always a good barometer of where teams are at here in the early season. And there is a pack of teams near the front of this meet who will be in close contention for the meet championship.
In the girls race, two teams are separated by just a few points in the meet projections. Farragut and Hardin Valley both have an excellent chance to start off their seasons with a victory.
CAK has been led by one of the nation's best runners -- Rebecca Story. But Story will be competing unattached this season. Cosey, on the other hand, transferred to Webb. If those two are competing, then they'll likely finish 1-2. Here's how the top five would shake out.
|1||Rebecca Story||11||Christian Academy of Knoxville||17:12.03||1|
|2||Taylor Cosey||10||Christian Academy of Knoxville||18:34.00||2|
|3||Madeline Shook||9||West High School||18:44.00||3|
|4||Anna Delahunt||11||Farragut High School||18:55.00||4|
|5||Lydia Cooke||11||Knoxville Ambassadors High School||19:17||5|
Story will have a long season running national meets after the state championship. So I would expect her to take this opener fairly easy. But Story and Cosey will almost certainly pace the field.
Farragut is projected to be the leader. Led by Anna Dunahunt (18:55) and Catelyn Woody (20:01), the Admirals have a shot at winning the meet. All five of Farragut's scorers are projected to finish inside the top 25.
The boys meet will also feature a close team battle, with only two teams projected to score under 100 points. Hardin Valley and Farragut come in as the favorites.
|1||Hardin Valley Academy||81||4||6||20||24||27||-||-|
|2||Farragut High School||91||11||12||16||18||34||-||-|
|3||Christian Academy of Knoxville||129||10||14||21||23||61||-||-|
|4||Stone Memorial High School||131||2||15||30||38||46||-||-|
|5||West High School||150||7||19||33||39||52||-||-|
The Ashe Park course always provides good preparation for the state meet. Yes, we're still two months away from talking about the state championship, but there's never a bad time to prepare. The Ashe course features rolling hills and rhythmic sections that allow you to pick up some speed. But make no mistake about it, it's not an easy place to run.
It's also likely to be a rainy Saturday morning in Knoxville, which could make conditions interesting on the hilly course. Don't expect too many eye-popping times, despite the crowded field of good competition.
We'll have LIVE coverage from both the Ashe Classic and the Brooks Twilight Meet. Follow us on twitter, @tnmilesplit for updates during the race. Keep the meet page bookmarked, because we'll post photos, videos and more following the conclusion of each race.