Neglia vs. Hutchins:
These athletes may be in the same competing region but since last year's spectator impediment debacle have only raced head to head in Cross Country one time and that was at their region meet last week where Jenna Hutchins bested Sasha Neglia by 15 seconds. She also bettered Sasha in both the mile and two-mile last spring on the track.
Jenna has raced all over the country this year posting a US #4 16:38 at the Nike Desert Twilight Festival in Arizona and has only lost to US #2 Katelyn Tuohy at Great American. Sasha has similarly had a decorated season racing in the Southeast losing only to Jenna and US #30 Kelsey Harrington of Virginia. The obvious pick is Jenna. The romantic pick is Sasha. This race may not be fast considering as I'm typing this it is still raining in the greater Nashville area, but it is going to come down to the final mile and whoever does win will have to earn the victory. There is however, a way both runners can stand atop the podium before the meet is over.
The Best of the Rest:
While there may only be two ways to pick a winner, the race for 3rd may be just as exciting with more possible outcomes. Junior Landri Wilcox crossed the finish line third last year (de facto 2nd was awarded) and has posted the 3rd best time in the state this season. However, Wilcox and fellow Junior and Midstate competitor Leigh Walters have swapped victories head to head. Sophomores Dinah Winders and Andie-Marie Jones may seemingly be a little further back from getting in the mix but I wouldn't count either of them out. While Winders has a better time this season just 11 seconds on Leigh Walters, Jones has a head to head victory over Dinah. After the leaders, this pack of four will follow close behind but the order in which they finish is much harder to predict.