The Few and Far Between:
So far this week, we have taken time to highlight all the Individual and Team Champions from Saturday's State Meet and deservedly so. From Sasha to Silas and Siegel to St. George's, each runner and team earned their moment in the spotlight. However, when I looked at the region results that started posting a week or so prior, a few finishers stood out and I made it a point to follow up with them on Saturday as well.
Typically, you do not hear from High Schools in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in the Tennessee running community until the spring. While Pearl-Cohn and East Nashville dominate the Division I Small Classification at Spring Fling, they are non-factors when it comes to Cross Country in the fall. The same can be said about the schools in the Large Division as well. The last time a MNPS High School Runner has finished in the Top 10 in the Large (AAA) Division was Bailey Dean of Cane Ridge in 2013. She got first that year. The last time a team has even qualified in that division is further back in the records than I have time to research (I went back a dozen years or so). The qualifiers are few and far between... the All-State Finishers are even fewer however this year the Division I Large Boys yielded three: Miles Ally (3rd), Connor Williams (9th), and Cohen Williams (12th).
When I first went to look at the Region 6 results, I quickly scrolled down to the team standings. As expected, the team race was tight but the outcome did not surprise me. Franklin, Brentwood, and Ravenwood teams qualified for the boys. What did stand out is the make-up of the Top 5 Individuals.
Event 8 Boys 5k Run CC D1-R6 Large ======================================================================= Name Year School Finals Points ======================================================================= 1 #192 Ally, Miles 11 Martin Luther King 16:10.05 1 2 #110 Williams, Connor 10 Hillsboro 16:15.69 2 3 #73 Guzman, Evan 12 Franklin 16:17.79 3 4 #109 Williams, Cohen 12 Hillsboro 16:22.78 4 5 #17 Chapman, Brody 9 Brentwood HS 16:25.11 5
Martin Luther King Magnet and Hillsboro? On Saturday, I talked to Miles, Connor and Cohen after their race to talk to about their rise from obscurity.
Miles misspoke in his video when he said, "when the announcements come on and they say
I got 3rd at the state meet, not man people know what that means."
When I followed up with his Coach, who is also his dad, Brandon Ally on
Monday, he confirmed MLK didn't even make an announcement about his performance
We spoke a little more about the challenges programs face in MNPS. Since MLK is a magnet school, the student population is splayed across all of Davidson County. While most programs in his region have the luxury of practicing together every day through the summer, MLK is lucky if they meet two times a week. With Centennial Park recently closed for renovations, finding central green space to train on made it even more of a challenge this year for the program. With all of that, and all the inequities I could elaborate on facing these runners, Saturday's finishes becomes that much more historic and impressive for runners from MNPS in Large (AAA) Division I. While Nashville continues to change, we may still be years away from a Large MNPS High School program breaching the team qualifiers list but for now; Miles, Connor, and Cohen are carried the torch proudly for the school system on Saturday and though Cohen will graduate, Miles and Connor will a couple more years to come.