Division I Large Schools State Preview

The Division I Large Schools competition features a lot of close battles.

The boys race and the girls race will both likely come down to a few points. And in both cases, the team battle comes down to a tight pack facing off with a a few all-state individuals.

Sasha Neglia has the advantage in the girls race. She's the only runner to break 18 in the large schools division this season. Landri Wilcox is next in 18:08. 

Dobyns Bennett High School
1) Sasha Neglia17:48.001
2) Ellie Hall19:27.5027
3) Morgan Cordell19:33.1735
4) Emma Russum19:34.8436
5) Meg Davis19:49.0349
Average Time: 19:14.51 Total Time: 1:36:12.54 1-5 Split: 2:01.03
6) Ellie Hall20:04.1060
7) Ashtyn Hagood20:12.5067

And if Neglia is able to secure a first place finish, it will help Dobyns Bennett's chances for a state championship. The Indians come in with a slight advantage. But there are a couple of teams who can certainly challenge for the title.

Houston High School has a tight pack separated by just 1:17.

Lydia Tankersley leads the way with an 18:59 season best. And she's followed by Felicity Bost and Anna Tankersley at 19:27 and 19:28.

2Houston High School (TN)167
1) Lydia Tankersley18:59.0012
2) Felicity Bost19:27.5628
3) Anna Tankersley19:28.2029
4) Madeline Harreld19:29.5230
5) Annabel Leonard20:16.6068
Average Time: 19:32.18 Total Time: 1:37:40.88 1-5 Split: 1:17.60
6) Brenna Riseling20:24.6780
7) Meghan Turner20:56.90122

Tight one-through-five packs succeed this time of year. And if those three can finish in the top 25, then Houston has a great shot at winning.

But they'll both also be challenged by Hardin Valley Academy

Cathryn Jardet leads a talented Hawks team that has been successful in East Tennessee all season. And she has a good chance to finish in the top five. Jardet's season best (18:35) is the seventh fastest time in the division so far this season.

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Dobyns Bennett has the advantage by just 19 points when you include every team in the division. That's a close enough margin to make things interesting on Saturday.

In the boys race, we have perhaps the closest team battle of the meet.

Knoxville Catholic and Oakland are only separated by eight points when you throw in all of the teams in the division.

So it's anyone's race.

Jake Renfree will battle with Titus Winders for the individual championship. But Winders is undefeated this season. Not only that, but he's brought his brother Silas along with him at every race in 2017. The Winders brothers have finished first and second every time they have toed the line.

2Knoxville Catholic High School (TN)198
1) Jake Renfree15:19.003
2) Devin Sullivan15:40.875
3) Jacob Pettinger16:32.4047
4) Ethan Tornstrom16:32.5748
5) Riley Smith16:54.8295
Average Time: 16:11.93 Total Time: 1:20:59.66 1-5 Split: 1:35.82
6) Hayden Trent18:57.01407
7) Parker Slough21:10.00701

Renfree presents a challenge for the Henry County duo. And winning the individual title will give a big boost to the Fighting Irish's chance of winning their first Large Schools state championship.

Devin Sullivan has been one of Tennessee's breakout performers this year. If the senior can stay with Renfree, Catholic has an advantage. Those two have to combine for five or six points in order for Catholic to have a good shot.

Oakland has a tight group of three runners leading the way. David Carlton, Brice Walkowski and Ryan Phillips all need to have big days in order for the Patriots to win. Those three are separated by just seven tenths of a second.

1Oakland High School (TN)191
1) David Carlton16:15.1819
2) Brice Walkowski16:15.6220
3) Ryan Phillips16:15.8121
4) Dalton Kerschieter16:33.8153
5) Ransom Lester16:46.7478
Average Time: 16:25.43 Total Time: 1:22:07.16 1-5 Split: 31.56
6) Tyler Walls17:21.08164
7) Thomas Pritchett19:06.52425

So expect Renfree to take this thing out quick. If the Oakland trio can stay in the front group for an extended period of time, it bodes well for their chances. The Patriots need a slow start where they can collectively take control of the race.

Siegel is the dark-horse contender here. The Stars have a tight 47 second one through five split that could make things interesting if the race stays bunched up.