PREVIEW: Volunteer Track Classic


Tom Black Track is one of the best surfaces in America.

And it's going to see some talented athletes this weekend.

The 2019 Volunteer Track Classic has some elite performers coming to Knoxville this weekend. And we'll be there to broadcast the whole thing.

Let's take a look at some of the big names coming to the 865.

The action starts on Friday night with a fantastic field in the girls two mile. 

Sasha Neglia and Jenna Hutchins are no strangers to one another. They're two of the best athletes, at any event, to come out of Northeast Tennessee in some time. Hutchins is undefeated outdoors in her high school career. She has the top spot in the state right now for the mile (4:51) which puts her fifth in the country too. Her 2:16.95 800 meter run is the second-fastest in Tennessee.

Neglia ran 4:55 to win the DC/TC Texas Roadhouse Relays last weekend. Her 10:42 got her second place in the two mile at Tri-Cities, despite the fact that she led almost the entire race. Neglia has plans for a long outdoor season that will likely end at New Balance Nationals. Friday night will be a good test of how she's rounding into form. And it will also be a good preview of a loaded state championship race in late May.

Elsewhere on the track on Friday night, we'll see one of the top relay teams in Tennessee. Maryville girls have the top spot in the 4x200 meter relay so far this season. They've got nearly a four second gap on the next fastest team in the field too. On the guys side, Austin-East will be chasing Southwind's 1:28.26 for a TN No. 1.

Jason Thomson was sixth at the Raleigh Relays for 1600. He'll suit up as the top overall seed in the boys two mile on Friday night. Tommy Ward and Samuel Ligon are the top challengers from the Volunteer State. 

There's always something special about running a twilight two mile. The weather drops, the lights go on and the competition is good. I'd expect more than just a handful of personal best times in the girls and boys two miles on Friday night.

Saturday gets started with a future Tennessee Vol taking the track in the pole vault.

Yariel Soto is currently No. 7 in the state of Ohio, but he has jumped 15-9 before. He committed to Tennessee last year, and he'll get a look at his future home on Saturday morning. If he can match his personal best, he'd hop into the top 35 jumpers in America.

Brittany Bishop will have a tough test in the girls 100 meter hurdles. She's a perfect 7-0 outdoors in that event so far this year. And she has the top spot in the state too.

But she hasn't raced Nia Scott of Brookwood (GA). Scott is the No. 6 hurdler in the Peachtree State. And she ran a big personal best late last month in Gwinnett County. Their personal bests are separated by .04. It'll be a good race to start off the day on Saturday.

 On the guys side, we'll see the latest installment in the Brevin Sims vs. Eric Parker duel. 

Sims was elite indoors -- finishing 12th for the 60m hurdles in the country last winter. He'll be making his outdoor debut at the 110 meter hurdles this weekend against his cross-town rival from Cleveland. Parker took the top spot in the state with a 14.24 at Hardin Valley last month. And don't forget about Gabel Fulford from CAK too. That race is going to be phenomenal.

South Doyle sprinter Elijah Young will be looking for win No. 6 in the 100 meter dash on Saturday. He'll have a tough test against Tyner star Jeremiah Batiste, who's currently No. 4 in the state (10.77). The winner of that race might have to dip below 10.75 if the conditions are right. If the rain can hold off for those guys, we may see two or three of the best times in the state come from that race. 

Batiste will come back later in the 200 to race Brevin Sims too. That'll be a fun crossover between two of Chattanooga's best athletes.

Jasmine Jefferson had a TN No. 3 mark of 58.26 in the 400 meter dash last indoor season. But she's gunning for more outdoors.

Against a talented field on Saturday afternoon, Jefferson will be looking to top her personal best time from the winter. She's currently tenth in the state right now, but she'll be pushed by Holli Chapman of Mountain Brook (AL) who has run under 57. 

We've got the best 300 meter hurdles field in the state so far this season on Saturday.

And it features many of Knoxville's fastest runners.

Kiyontae Warren holds the top spot in Tennessee right now. He'll line up as the top seed. He'll be joined by Eric Parker, Gabel Fulford, Yariel Soto and Jackson Bostick. Those four Tennesseans are four of the seven-fastest runners at that distance in the state this season. Let's hope the rain holds off and they can put down a fast time.

This meet is going to be fun. And you can watch it LIVE right here on MileSplit.

Don't miss it.

-- --

Comments