Division I Preview: Region Two

As we continue our region previews for Friday's state qualifier, we head to Knoxville.

Starting in the AAA classification, region two possesses some of the state's best runners. 

And in the girls meet, Hardin Valley is a major player at the state level.

AAA Girls

Shila Kapaya is the favorite to win the individual competition at Cherokee Boulevard on Friday. She's the only girl to run sub-18:30 this season in region two.

Her Knoxville Catholic team sits in sixth in the initial projections. But with the help of No. 2 runner Callie Tucker, who has the fifth fastest time in the region, the Fighting Irish have a shot to grab the final qualifying spot for the State Meet.

Out in front, Hardin Valley's tight pack makes them the favorite. Cathryn Jardet, Jenna Wall and Madison Grimm should all be able to finish in the top ten. In fact, the Hawks could put their entire top seven in the top 40 finishers.

1Hardin Valley Academy41
1) Cathryn Jardet18:35.093
2) Jenna Wall19:32.866
3) Madison Grimm19:37.048
4) Ellie Bachmann19:44.2611
5) Kensi Gray19:58.6213
Average Time: 19:29.57      1-5 Split: 1:23.53
6) Taylor Van Hout20:22.8220
7) Madison Buckles21:39.8635

That would seal the victory for HVA, who is projected to finish with just 41 points.

Farragut won't be too far behind. The Admirals come in with a projected 66 points, thanks in large part to Anna Delahunt (18:38 season best).

But joining Catholic in the race for third are Maryville, West High School and Oak Ridge.

The Rebels have the slight advantage thanks to their top five all being ranked in the top 30, but Oak Ridge will rely on Genevieve Schwarz to secure a top ten finish and help the Wildcats advance. That race for the third place spot should be a close one.

AAA Boys

Knoxville Catholic's Jake Renfree and Devin Sullivan have been near the front of every race they've competed in this season.

Their team will follow suit in Region II-AAA. 

In its first year at this new classification, Knoxville Catholic comes in as the favorite with 56 points.

1Knoxville Catholic High School 56
1) Jake Renfree15:19.001
2) Devin Sullivan15:40.872
3) Jacob Pettinger16:32.4014
4) Ethan Tornstrom16:32.5715
5) Riley Smith16:54.8224
Average Time: 16:11.93  1-5 Split: 1:35.82
6) Hayden Trent18:57.0160
7) Parker Slough21:10.0084

After the Fighting Irish, there's a tight group of teams battling for the final two spots. 

Farragut and Oak Ridge are tied with 92 points based on season best times this season. So those two teams are likely to join Catholic at the State Meet.

But Seth Bowden and Maryville will have a shot to advance as well. Bowden's season best of 15:48 makes him the fourth fastest runner in 2-AAA coming into the region competition. If he can hold his own in that top five, then the Rebels will have a shot to move on.

A-AA Girls

L&N STEM Academy's Laura Bretscher is the fastest runner in A-AA this season by over a minute and a half.

And her teammate Brooke Foster has the second fastest time in the region.

With their leadership, L&N STEM Academy will almost certainly win the Region 2-A-AA team title.

1L & N STEM Academy23
1) Laura Bretscher18:56.461
2) Brooke Foster20:45.812
3) Deja Griffin22:03.834
4) Channing Gentry22:31.436
5) Mary Mader25:22.7410
Average Time: 21:56.05            1-5 Split: 6:26.28
6) Brodrieka Maxwell-dav26:13.1012
7) Molly Erickson26:57.7016

After them, Midway High School and Northview Academy look like the favorites to snag the final two qualifying spots.

But Alcoa High School has a shot to move on as well. The Tornadoes will need a big day from Kaitlyn Newman, who comes in seeded fifth in the region. Jenna Martin (No. 9) will also play a big role in helping Alcoa advance to next week's state competition.

A-AA Boys

With four runners seeded in the top ten, L&N Stem Academy's boys team is also the big favorite to win the region two championship.

1L & N STEM Academy35
1) Seth Jinks16:22.051
2) Jackson Sparks17:54.716
3) James Defreese18:33.617
4) Evan Carr18:50.7710
5) Connor McGinley18:54.6911
Average Time: 18:07.17        1-5 Split: 2:32.64
6) Haddon Bryant19:51.8319
7) Nicholas Duncan20:18.4925

But watch out for Alcoa. The Tornadoes bring in two guys who could run in the top five of the race. That includes Samir Koko and Nick Holloway. With their leadership, the Tornadoes are also big favorites to advance.

Behind those two teams way out front, a tight group of Gatlinburg-Pittman, Northview Academy and Kingston High School will battle for the last qualifying spot.

GP has the edge on the point projections followed by Kingston, but Northview Academy has the fourth fastest average time among its top five. If Emerson Fulton can finish second, where he's seeded, that'll be a big boost to Gatlinburg-Pittman's chances of advancing.