I remember my first Vanderbilt high school indoor invitational.
Indoor track wasn't really a huge thing in Tennessee yet. And I remember being really excited to have a top class facility right down the road.
It was so foreign to all of us.
But the experience was great.
The first Vanderbilt HS Indoor meet took place on February 1, 2014. And that meet jumpstarted indoor track for so many athletes -- especially in Middle Tennessee.
Before the creation of that meet, I didn't hear about indoor track as an athlete until my sophomore year in 2012. My team only ran one indoor track race per winter. If you did your training over winter break, your reward was a trip to Bloomington to race at the IU High School Invitational.
But an entire indoor season? For high schoolers? That wasn't possible.
In 2019, Tennessee has a trio of fantastic meets just in-state. For a while, the Vanderbilt HS Invite, now named the Music City Indoor Invitational, was the cream of the crop. Back in that meet in 2014, the boys mile featured six of the top 20 times in the country.
Boys 1 Mile Run High School (2014) =================================================================================== 2 Sections (16/20) 4:12.46 US#1 US Top Mark 4:17.04 US10 US Top 10 4:18.75 US20 US Top 20 Name Year School Finals H# =================================================================================== 1 Pectol, Wesley (AUBURN/ETSU) Unattached 4:16.45 US10 1 2 Caldwell, Taylor (OLE MISS) Unattached 4:16.68 US10 1 3 Gregory, Patrick (DARTMOUTH) Cross Elite 4:17.00 US10 1 4 Churitch, Coleman (AUBURN) Unattached 4:17.21 US20 1 5 Thomas, Alec (NC STATE) Unattached 4:17.67 US20 1 6 Thomas, Aaron (NC STATE) Unattached 4:17.92 US20 1 7 Orange, Carlton (TEXAS A&M) Memphis Must 4:22.60 1 8 Farmer, Kenan (PRINCETON) Unattached 4:24.13 1 9 Bindner, Joe (TENNESSEE) Lucky Charms 4:25.42 2 10 Ritchie, Ramsay (DAVIDSON) McCallie Rid 4:26.07 1 11 Long, Zach (TENNESSEE) Unattached 4:26.92 2
As you can see, all 11 of those athletes went on to run for Division I programs. And that's just one example.
But this meet has only grown since that original edition back in 2014. Next weekend in Nashville, we're expecting one of the premiere events in the Southeast.
In the five years since that meet, indoor track has become a season of its own. We're closer to having a true state championship. Athletes are traveling more out of state to compete in Lexington, Birmingham and Lynchburg. But for Middle and West Tennessee, that momentum began five years ago at the first Vanderbilt Invitational.
Driving all the way to Johnson City to race at ETSU was quite the haul. Now there was a meet closer to home.
We're excited to see just how good indoor track, and the new look Music City Indoor Invitational, can become.