Alcoa & Signal Mountain: Why they won Small Division I

Signal Mountain Girls

Since the reclassification of 2016, Signal Mountain finished 2nd and 2nd to East Nashville Magnet in Small Division I but on Tuesday had the meet well in hand before their best event, the 3200. But speaking of events this is how the meet broke down. 

Signal Madison
Event Wins 2 2
Events with Multiple Scorers 7 2
Total Events scored in 16 12

As expected and stated in the preview, Signal was bringing athletes in events that they couldn't match points with East in previous years highlighted by Kara Wilson getting 2nd in Triple and 3rd in the 200m Dash. That said, they probably didn't need the sprint points as much this season considering they more than doubled the the runner-up team's point total.

Coach Carpenter after winning the Small Division I Girl's State Championship.

Why was their such a points gap? In 2018 East scored 155. In 2019 they scored 128. This season they scored 49. I attribute this fall off to two things; COVID and the rise of Pearl-Cohn.

Let's start with COVID. In December, families in Metro Nashville had to make a decision, keep your kid virtual or send them to in class learning. This in turn made it difficult to get kids to practice to begin as most relied on buses to get this to school to begin with. With less available athletes, team scoring in turn would suffer. 

Now to the rise of Pearl-Cohn. In 2018 they scored 0 points. In 2019 they scored 7. On Tuesday they scored 53. Metro Nashville Public Schools is essentially open enrollment for all campuses. If you live in East Nashville but your parent works in Green Hills and it would be easier for your parent's schedule to drop you off and pick you up at Hillsboro High School instead of Statford then you could apply to go to Hillsboro instead. I don't think you need that much of a reason to begin with however. So as parents and athletes see the success of the Pearl-Cohn boy's team and they see that the program takes track seriously what we may be seeing is a migration of power shifting from East to the Firebirds. 

As for Madison Academic though, their runner up finish was the first time they brought home hardware from Murfreesboro this classification cycle. The program seems to have a low ceiling but a high floor within the division.