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CAK & Webb in DII-A: Both Christian Academy of Knoxville and Webb have chances to bring home a team title to Knoxville. CAK's boys have the second-most qualifiers in the division behind Franklin Road Academy. The Warriors should expect to bring home some kind of trophy to the 865. Meanwhile, 11 of Webb's 18 qualifiers in the girls DII-A meet are seeded in the top three in their event. That bodes well for the Lady Spartans chances of sweeping cross country and outdoor track.
Cleveland vs. Brentwood...Again: Cleveland High School's boys have a shot at winning a state championship in DI-AA. Eric Parker is expected to lead the way with two wins in the hurdles. Brentwood will have a big lead heading into the running events, thanks in large part to Jett Kinder, who set the US No. 1 last week in the decathlon to start off the meet. The Bruins have six qualifiers seeded in the top three, and all of them are field event athletes. That team race came down to the wire last year. It might again this year too. Expect Whitehaven to contend as well.
Austin-East & Signal Chasing Favorites: Pearl Cohn and East Nashville are heavy favorites to sweep the DI-A meets for the city of Nashville. Austin East boys and Signal Mountain girls are heavy favorites to come in second. The Roadrunners will use their sprint depth, led by Kiyontae Warren, to go head-to-head against the Firebirds of Pearl Cohn. The Eagles Signal Mountain will be anchored by their distance prowess as they chase after the Eagles of East Nashville. You never know...maybe those two squads can sneak up and pull off the upset too.
Names to Watch
Renfree & Bullock Gunning for Doubles: Jake Renfree will be going for the 800-1600 double against a talented field of runners at both distances. Most of the other guys are going to be fresh. Top contender Gabriel Robinson only has to worry about the 800. Meanwhile, Cole Bullock is looking for two gold medals himself -- in the 1600 & 3200. Something's got to give. It's a good thing we get to see these two guys race again in the 1600. We'll see them again next week at the Music City Distance Carnival. With the likes of Jeb Jones and Davis Bove in the mix too, that 1600 could be special.
Neglia vs. Hutchins: Ah yes, the rivalry is going to be renewed. Northeast Tennessee neighbors Sasha Neglia and Jenna Hutchins will toe the line against one another in the girls 1600 meter run. Like Renfree and Bullock, both are looking for doubles. One chose the 800 (Hutchins) and the other wanted the 3200 (Neglia). But we'll settle for one head-to-head battle. Every time these two girls race against one another, it's an exciting race. It's usually a fantastic finish too. Having them race head-to-head so much is good for track and field in Tennessee. That's going to be a fun one.
How fast can Brevin Sims go?: The Chattanooga Arts and Sciences junior is no stranger to the state meet. Brevin Sims has three outdoor state championships to his name already...and he's nowhere near finished. Right now, Sims ranks No. 6 nationally for the 110 meter hurdles and No. 24 at the intermediate hurdles. But will the buzz and excitement of the state meet bring out an even better performance? We certainly hope so. It's a shame we have to wait until Friday to see him race again at MTSU.
Narayani Finishes Storied Career: Last year it was Rebecca Story. This year it's Niki Narayani. The Webb senior has a chance to finish off a decorated distance running career one last time with a triple at the state meet. And she'll be trying to help her team bring home a trophy too. Narayani will toe the line for a 800-1600-3200 triple. Of course, these won't be simple victory laps. There are some really good runners in those races on Wednesday night's DII-A meet. But make no mistake, it's going to be tough to beat Narayani in her final competition for the Spartans.
Can Georgie McDevitt Sweep the Sprints?: Maryville senior Georgie McDevitt is the top-ranked sprinter in the state at 100 and 200 meters. She's been dominant all year. But she hasn't had to race Kirstin Jones yet. Whitehaven and Southwind will bring a very talented crop of runners to challenge the future Wofford Terrier. McDevitt is peaking at the right time. Both of her TN No. 1's came at the Section 1 Championship. She won't back down against the likes of Jones and Breanna Miles. Those are going to be some incredible races.
Knoxville's Hurdles Dominate Every Division: We've written about it all year -- East Tennessee has the best boys hurdlers in the state. It starts with the aforementioned Sims, Parker and Warren. But this is a deep group of runners that's going to score major points across every single division. Gabel Fulford is a favorite in DII-A. Jackson Bostick is in the mix as well. Braden Gaston will score points for Knoxville Central. It seems like everywhere you look in the boys hurdles, there's an East Tennessean with a chance to stand atop the podium. When you get a group of guys pushing each other at local meets all season, you see the results this time of year.
Brittany Bishop Takes Center Stage: Brittany Bishop is one of the stars of the week. She's already got the state record in the pole vault. She has a TN No. 1 in the 110m hurdles too. But like the other runners and throwers here, how does the buzz of the state meet propel her to extending her lead on the rest of the state? Her 13-3.5 this outdoor season is 15th in America. We're looking forward to seeing if she can break her own record and finish off her career on a high note.