Evan Allen races to the win at Memphis Twilight over the weekend (photo: Ted Paduck)
There was a lot of good cross country going on around the state of Tennessee on Saturday.
Let's start in the Mid-State, where three guys teams averaged under 17:20. Franklin (the team champions), Independence and Brentwood all had excellent starts to their seasons in Hermitage. Evan Guzman paced the Rebels with an eighth place finish, leading the way with a 16:37 to open his season. His teammates weren't far behind. Franklin only had 48 seconds separating its first and fifth runners.
Brentwood edged Independence by a single point for the runner-up plaque while also averaging 10 seconds slower than the Bruins. Brody Chapman, who's just a freshman, led the way for Brentwood with a fourth place finish and a 16:24. It sounds like we're going to be hearing a lot from him down the road.
Preston Hanzley led the Eagles to their third-place finish. He finished ninth with a 16:47.
Those three Williamson County foes will be seeing a lot of each other this season in Div. 1-Large Schools. That's a fun race to keep an eye on.
On the girls side, it was the Leigh Walters show. After a phenomenal track season, Walters opened up the cross country season with a win against a solid field. Her time was 18:04. Landri Wilcox still had a solid day, running 18:24 for second place behind the Page junior.
It was Brentwood High School who took the top spot -- and they didn't run a single senior. Despite the loss of a couple of athletes who have chosen to compete unattached, the Bruins were dominant, averaging a 19:59 for the top overall spot. They made themselves an early favorite in Div. 1 Large Schools with a performance like that.
In Memphis, Evan Allen outraced a loaded field in the Memphis Twilight Opener. And what an opener it was.
Allen was a 12-second winner with a 15:26 -- a 30-second personal best. Allen ran 15:56 for seventh place at the state championship last year. Whatever he did this summer...he better keep doing it.
Foot Locker qualifier Silas Winders finished sixth in his opener. He still managed to dip under 16 minutes by a second, as he continues to ramp up his training in his senior season.
Andie-Marie Jones is officially in the conversation for one of the best underclassmen in the region. She won the Victor Ashe Park Classic in Knoxville with ease...cruising to a 18:38 season-opener.
And she's just a sophomore.
Jones, who ran 18:23 at the Cherokee Invite a season ago, will look to continue that momentum into this fall. It's not everyday you can win a race by over a minute this early in the season. We'll see how fast she can go with more help at the front of the pack.