PREVIEW: Frank Horton Invitational

The Frank Horton Invitational is always a staple of the cross country season in Memphis.

And the 29th running this weekend promises to bring some excellent performances.

Last year's girls meet featured a close team battle between Houston, West Plains and Arlington. Ella Baran ran away with the individual competition, outpacing the field by 30 seconds.

But the defending champs won't be back to defend their title, leaving the team competition wide open.

Arlington comes in as a favorite to win the team title. They're led by the 1-2 punch of Gracelyn Wells and Chloe Biggs, who should finish in the top five. And both of those two runners should be able to creep down under 19:30 for the first time this season. If they can run around their PRs, Arlington should have a good chance to win.

Last season, Arlington's one-through-five split was about four and a half minutes. But this year, the pack is much closer together. This young team should be able to put the top five in the top 15 of the race. 

They'll be chased by a few teams who are projected to finish close together, Tupelo High School and Hernando High School. Those two Mississippi schools have some runners who can run under 20 minutes, starting with Katelyn Cartwright from Hernando.

Cartwright has run 19:29 this season, making her the only runner in the field who has run faster than 19:30 this year. She's looking for her third win of the year, coming off a first place finish at the Southerntees Challenge. Tupelo's Savannah Hudgins may factor in to the individual title as well.

On the guys side, West Tennessee's family duo is back at it again. The Winders brothers are looking for their fourth 1-2 finish of the season.

Titus Winders was the winner last week at the Marshall County Invitational. He took the race in 16:10, which is considered a walk in the park for the senior from Henry County.

His little brother Silas wasn't too far behind, running 16:20, which was 20 seconds ahead of the next finisher.

The Winders brothers already have one big Memphis meet under their belt. They went 1-2 at the Brooks Twilight Meet earlier this month. And on Saturday they'll finish the month off with another great chance to be the top two finishers.

Behind the leadership of their frontrunners, Henry County has a good shot at the team title as well. They'll be challenged by Arlington, who has a good chance to put three runners in the top ten.

Memphis University School senior Hastings McEwan and Collierville senior Michael Linder will also be in contention for a spot in the top five. 

It should be an interesting race, featuring a chance at a new meet record in the boys race.