2017 was a good year for Tennessee at Foot Locker Nationals.
2018 could be even better.
Last year, the Volunteer state was well-represented in San Diego. Jake Renfree finished fifth. Carter Coughlin was 15th. And Titus Winders was 35th. That trio ended a two-year drought for Tennessee boys. You had to go back to Zach Long's 38th place finish in 2014 to find Tennessee's last finish.
Things have changed since then.
Renfree, David Ahlmeyer, Silas Winders and Cole Bullock will toe the line at Balboa Park tomorrow morning. And they have a chance to race their way to history as Tennessee's best group to ever race Foot Locker Nationals.
No individual has been able to top Andrew Bumbalough's second place finish in 2004. The former Brentwood Academy Eagle turned Georgetown Hoya finished in 15:24 after winning the South region in 14:32. Aaron Templeton's ninth place finish in 2013 is one of the best in state history.
It'll be hard to do much better than that for any individual. But as a group? This is as good as Tennessee's ever had.
Since 2010, Tennessee has never had more than three qualifiers at Foot Locker. In fact, it hadn't even had more than one until last year.
Renfree's experience at the front of the pack will be beneficial in his final high school cross country race. He's looking for a great finish to his banner season, which included an individual state championship a month ago.
(Find out where to watch the 2018 Foot Locker National Championship)
Bullock had the best individual time in Tennessee this season from Cherokee Classic. He has the ability to run sub-15 -- he's done it this season. Not to mention...early in the season. All four of these guys should be able to finish anywhere from 15:10-15:30. That would put them in the top 15, which makes you an All-American.
Jenna Hutchins carries the torch for Tennessee in the girls race. She's the 78th freshman to ever qualify for Foot Locker Nationals. And she's peaking at the right time.
Hutchins finished in eighth place at Foot Locker South. And she PR'ed in the process, running 17:25.
Given the muddy conditions on the day, that's quite impressive.
We'll see tomorrow just how good this Tennessee group can be. We've got high expectations.