East Tennessee has some outstanding athletes in the class of 2019. And many of them will be on display this weekend at the state indoor meet on Saturday.
Let's start with the headliner -- Jake Renfree.
The Knoxville Catholic senior has had as good a year as anyone in Tennessee history. His runner-up finish at Foot Locker, winning the Gatorade Runner of the Year and representing Team USA...it's hard to imagine him topping that kind of fall this track season.
But in many ways, he already has.
Renfree currently holds the second-fastest mile time in America after his 4:09 second place finish at Millrose. His 1:52 also places him as the state leader -- and US No. 3 -- in the 800 meter run. Every time he touches the track, no matter who he's racing, he'll expect to win.
Parrilla is US No. 4 at 1:53 after his win at the UK Indoor Classic last weekend. It will be interesting to see how he can carry his momentum from that race into the indoor state championship. That boys 800 is going to be crowded with some of the best distance runners in the region, including Foot Locker finalist Cole Bullock.
When we spoke to Bullock back in early January, he was happy with simply hitting the New Balance Nationals standard for the mile and continuing to gain traction for the end of the indoor season. Well, now it's time to race for a state championship. And you know he'll be up for the challenge against many of Tennessee's best.
Bullock has only run 1:58 this season -- that was back at KYA in early January. His mile (4:17) is US No. 33 at the moment, so you know he's capable of hanging around with anyone in this field. Plus, he did break 15 minutes in the 5k this cross country season. So he has the endurance for a late kick.
All that being said, the boys 800 might be the best event of the entire meet. It's got four of the top distance in the Southeast when you throw in LSU signee Davis Bove from Middle Tennessee.
Event 12 Boys 800 Meter Run =============================================================================== Saturday 2/23/2019 - 9:30 AM Name Year School Seed =============================================================================== 1 Renfree, Jake 11 Knox Catholic TC 1:52.30 2 Parrilla, Miguel 12 Hardin Valle 1:53.40 3 Robinson, Gabriel 10 Ravenwood HS 1:57.30 4 Brown, Andre 12 White Statio 1:58.30 5 Bove, Davis 12 Centennial H 1:58.50 6 Griffin, Henry 11 Mt. Juliet H 1:58.90 7 Bullock, Cole 12 Red Bank HS 1:58.90 8 Bell, Jahari 12 White Statio 2:02.00 9 Riggan, Russell 12 Wilson Centr TC 2:02.60 10 Nelvis, Jamieson 11 White Statio 2:02.70 11 Ward, Tommy 11 Maryville TC 2:02.80 12 Sparks, Jackson 12 L & N Stem A 2:02.80 13 Thompson, Grant 11 Brentwood HS 2:04.70 14 Millard, Cole 12 Cleveland HS 2:06.20 15 Thompson, Justin 11 Karns HS TC 2:06.50 16 Allison, Jake 12 Farragut TC 2:07.90 17 Mitchell, Lennie 10 White Statio 2:08.40
Unfortunately, we won't get a Sasha Neglia vs. Jenna Hutchins battle this weekend.
But that doesn't mean East Tennessee's girls won't be well-represented.
Ellie Bachmann (US No. 20 -- 2:12) and Neglia will battle it out for a state championship in the girls 800 meter run. There's just something about East Tennessee and the 800, right?
Neglia comes in at 2:17 -- but her personal best might be in danger this weekend. The Dobyns Bennett junior hasn't had many chances to run the 800. She won the KYA Indoor Classic with her personal best earlier this indoor season, but other than that she's only run the 800 four other times as a high schooler. So who knows what she's really capable of running against Tennessee's best?
In the hurdles and sprints, look for Chattanooga to stand strong. On the girls and guys side.
Alayah Dozier comes in as the favorite in the girls 60 meter dash. She's been busy this indoor season, setting the top mark in the state with a 7.66 earlier this month at Music City. Her time has gone from 7.93 to 7.66 over her five races this indoor season. That's not a bad way to gain momentum and confidence for the outdoor season. She comes in as the fastest seed, closely followed by Whitehaven's Kirstin Jones.
On the guys side, the main event in the sprints comes once again in the hurdles.
Brevin Sims and Eric Parker have developed a nice little rivalry -- and the latest installment will be this weekend. Sims was the runner-up with a new personal best at Music City. He dipped below eight seconds for the first time -- finishing in 7.96. He's the only boy in Tennessee to break that mark this indoor season.
Parker, on the other hand, will be gunning for a podium finish as well. He's also set a new personal best this season with a 8.10 at Music City. Either of these two guys could bring back a gold medal to Chattanooga in the 60 meter hurdles. That should be a fun race to watch.
Stay tuned all Saturday as we cover the quickly growing Tennessee Indoor State Meet. We'll have full coverage all day, including race video, interviews and more.