Preview: 2020 Fall Classic Memphis

The strange and odd 2020 TN cross country season is over. So what do you do now? How about take that 5K training and see what you can do in the 3200 on a surface that doesn't have grass and stones and holes, like a nice Track! It seems over the past few years, there has been a trend, with the HOKA's and other events, to get into a 3200 track race and see what those cross country legs can do. This Saturday at the CBHS track just off the Walnut Grove exit of I-240, is exactly what we'll get to find out. The Memphis Fall Classic is here. There's an Elementary 800, Middle School 1600, High School 3200, and a few Open 5K races on the track. I'll focus a bit on the High School races here.

To begin with, there seems to be a real need for some competitive races. Without the track season this calendar year and limitations on the cross country meets, getting in a competitive - and fast - race is just something everybody is itching to do now. Guess what? It's going to happen Saturday.

The top seeds in this race include Miles Ally, Aiden Britt, Landen McNair, Robert Dawson, Max Blader, Jake Arnold and a slew of others. These guys are local to the area, Nashville area and even way out from there.

Aiden Britt, coming off his impressive State Championship race, hasn't missed winning a race since around September 12th this season. Having a PR of 9:21 in the 3200 and 4:20 for the 1600M is probably what may put him as a favorite here. State and Region 5 champion, is a good pedigree to bring to this race. Let's not count out Mile Ally though. This NC State commitment has come out to the Memphis area this season a few times and has won a couple of races, including the competitive Frank Horton. Miles also is the Region 6 champion. He likes to win, and he's done that on this side of the state in pretty strong fashion.

And then of course, there's the crew from Bartlett. Landen McNair and Robert Dawson are coming into this race on a very high note for sure. Landen has a 15:14 PR in the 5K cross country distance and couple that with his sub 2-minute leg speed for the 800, that could just equate to a super-fast 3200 here on Saturday. Heck, he ran 9:17 in October for the distance so I expect that to drop here. Robert is one that could put in a surprise result Saturday. He set a PR this season for the 5k (15:42.20) and ran his fastest 3200 of 9:29.96 this year also (same race as Landen).

And if I'm going to talk local, Jake Ryan has run an even 10 in the 3200 but that doesn't really paint the picture of the potential in this guy. 2:03 for the 800, low 16 for 5K, and a low number for the mile could be considered a pretty good formula to pump out a fast 3200 at this point in the XC season. No hills to climb, no footing to worry about, just run fast and turn left! His teammate, Adam Willett will likely be right on his tail and if he falters, then maybe Adam might just get the bragging rights on their home track.

There are a ton of others in this race to keep an eye on and I probably am missing a few. But Connor Henson, a sub 16 5K racer and State Champion in the D2A class this year is one to watch for. And possibly coming from out of town is Max Blader (New Richmond, WI). He is a sub 16 5K guy himself and Sectional champ in his area and a top 6 state finisher with 2:05 800 speed. This could just be a warm day for Max as well, which could be to his favor here.

A few more contenders to keep an eye on will include Will Douglas, Cayden Durruogh, Daniel McGuire, Luke Thompson, Andy Henton, Robert Randal and a few others that could be running this race in less than 10 minutes... and who knows, could be way less than the 10-minute mark!

The girls side is a little smaller group taking on this race Saturday. That however, isn't going to dampen the completion by any means. Brentwood area athlete, Sofia Rutherford, is probably the headliner in this race. Sophia has a sub 11 in the 3200 a sub 5 in the Mile and has run 2:13 for the 800 and so that should make her one exciting athlete to watch as she takes on eight laps here Saturday.

Anna Banovac is scheduled to race and you could say this athlete is much more suited to the track races than a cross country race. She's ran 2:13 indoor for the 800 in February and has a 5:01 for the mile. She's right around the 19-minute mark for the 5K cross country but drop off 1.8K and run it on a track and that could give Anna a fast time Saturday.

But if you take a closer look at the entries for this race, Dinah Winders is one athlete you do not want to ever count out. Dinah isn't one of those burn the rubber off your shoes kind of track speed athlete but she gets to her top speed and can hold it forever! That's not saying she isn't fast, she holds PR of 5:08.19 in the 1600 and a low 11 for the 3200. She set her 5K PR this season and posted a good amount of low 18's and so this Saturday might just be the perfect timing for her to get in a solid 3200!

If I forgot to mention someone here, it was not on purpose. There's a lot of talented running heading into this race Saturday and limited time or space for me to write about everyone! But I think with the way this season has gone, you can throw out the PR's and stats. It seems for this year, once you lace up and are standing on the starting line, you just have to give it your all since who knows what next week has in mind for us!

Big THANKS to Nick Dwyer and MYA for putting on this event - good to be on the track again!! 

See you on the track

Coach Ted