Distance Takes Center Stage at Tri-Cities

We've got lots of fantastic distance runners descending on Johnson City, Tennessee this weekend.

The 2018 Tri-Cities Track Classic is always loaded with great talent from the area. This year is no exception. There are a few athletes who could knock off meet records, including a few on Friday night. 

Let's start in the Coughenour Two Mile, where Sasha Neglia highlights the in-state competitors who will be taking the track. Neglia has still never run a 3200 or 2 Mile in high school on the track. She missed her track season last year due to injury. However, on the cross country course she's won two state championships in her first two years in high school. So Friday night could be a great opportunity to not only get the first race under her belt, but to set a huge measuring stick for future races at this distance.

Neglia is the top seed right at 11:00. She'll be challenged by a trio of Blacksburg (VA) competitors who are coming off their seventh straight state XC championship this past fall. Sophia Link has the fastest time of that group. She ran her indoor season best at the Liberty Christmas HS Invite this past December, finishing in 11:32. That's her seed time coming in as well. Simonne Guenette joins Link as the third seed. She was fifth at this event the past two years, and also finished 10th at New Balance Nationals EE 3200 as a freshman. 

Eliza Stowe rounds out the top four. She's run 5:38 in the 1600, which came back in 2016 at the Dogwood Track Classic. She was 12th at the VHSL Indoor State Meet for 3200 a few weeks ago. Her personal best came in early January when she ran 11:36 at the Bulldog Invite.

Neglia has a chance to continue her incredible run of consecutive wins. The Dobyns Bennett sophomore has only lost one track race...in her career. She has 11 career wins in cross country and seven more on the track. Her only 2 Mile performances have come in cross country. She won the Pioneer Class of the Classes back in August of 2016 to set her personal best, which is still 10:59. Expect that to be demolished on Friday night.

On the guys side, we've got another incredible race. It starts with Nolan Harris, a UVA signee, who comes in with the fastest time in the field.

He's got a 4:23 1600 personal best, which he ran to finish second at his state meet last outdoor season. He won his state championship in 1A for 3200 meters in 9:54. Last outdoor season, he ran his personal best at the Dogwood Track Classic, which is still 9:22. 

Ohio's Josh Hill could also challenge for the win. He's run 4:25 a couple times, including this past indoor season at the Kent State University HS Meet. He finished 7th at the OHSAA State XC Meet last fall, running a personal best time of 15:34. And he's still just a junior. Look out for him as well.

Tennessee's top competitor is Grace Christian's Brent Borden. He was 8th in the 1600 at the Hardin Valley Invite last weekend. He's got a 4:28 1600 personal best, and also ran 9:41 at the Volunteer Track Classic last spring in Knoxville. He's another guy who could be ready for a big personal best, especially after his 16:16 PR in cross country last fall.

On Saturday, lots of these athletes will come back in the Mile. But a few will be fresh, including Blacksburg sophomore Kaitlynn Wolfe.

Wolfe is coming off a spectacular indoor campaign, where she won the 4A Virginia Indoor State Meet in the mile and 3200. She's got a personal best of 5:02, but she's run around that time on many separate occasions. She also won this event last year in 5:15 and 10:57. To cap off her indoor season, Wolfe finished 8th at New Balance Indoor in the 5K, running 17:23.

On the guys side, a few milers will join Thiessen, Hill and Borden in what looks to be another loaded field.

Hunter White has the fastest time coming into the race. He ran 4:23 to finish second at the Marvin Ridge Invitational back on March 17th. He was 12th in his division in North Carolina last year. You'll likely have to run sub-4:20 to win this event with five guys coming in under 4:30. That race should be a lot of fun.

You can catch all the action LIVE all weekend right here on Milesplit. We'll start our broadcast at 5 PM on Friday night and 8:30 AM Saturday morning.