Preseason Team Report: Top Girls XC Squads


East Tennessee is loaded.

Let's start there.

West High School was a surprise winner of the state cross country championship a year ago. Now they're the proven winners. 

Can the Rebels repeat as champions?

Sophomore Marley Townsend is going to lead the way for last year's winners. She ran a personal best of 19:08 a year ago. Emma Dewalt and Elisabeth Bernard will be major players for them too.

But both of the frontrunners in Tennessee will also be parts of excellent teams.

Sasha Neglia's Dobyns Bennett and Jenna Hutchins' Science Hill.

Neglia's Tribe has six runners in the top 200 of the state regardless of rankings. Hutchins' Hilltoppers have seven.

The newly crowned state mile record holder is still searching her first team championship. As a freshman last year, Hutchins won her first state championship during the cross country season.

On the other side of town, Neglia was an All-American. And she also has the best season best of anyone returning in the state (17:18). 

So as if that rivalry wasn't already fun enough, now you throw the team battle into the equation.

Brentwood Academy won the state championship in DII-AA with a strong group behind individual winner Coco Holliday. Kylie Wittman and Elizabeth Heckman will lead an experienced group this fall. 

The Eagles will be favorites in their division. They also could be one of the top five teams regardless of classification when the season's done.

Out West, the junior duo of Lydia Tankersley and Madeline Harreld will be really hard to beat. They've got three girls under 20 minutes heading into the season.

Tankersley and Harreld will both be in contention for all-state spots at the state meet.

We're just scratching the surface on the good teams in the Volunteer State. But those are a couple of get the ball rolling.

Stay tuned for more coverage as cross country gets closer!

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