The Southern Showcase: Tennessee Storylines
This meet might as well be hosted on the third Saturday in October. Why? Every college football fan knows that day is reserved for the Alabama - Tennessee Football game. This meet looks no different except it involved cross country. Schools from those states make up 90% of the field taking to the course Friday and Saturday with a handful of Georgia and Florida sprinkled in. The field is truly impressive. While there are some national storylines to pay attention to, these are the things I'm looking at.
Middle vs. West
This is the first opportunity we'll have to see how teams with title aspirations like Bartlett and Houston match up to the up and coming squads of Beech and Brentwood. Brentwood edged Beech last week at Chickasaw and looks to have Brody Chapman coming back into form. It'll also be interesting to see if freshman sensations like Callahan Fielder and Keegan Smith can assert themselves as serious contenders for best in the state in the first year. The four pack who already went head to head at Twilight (Henson, Adams, McNair, Douglas) will be joined by Lovelace, Thompson, Holleman, and Campbell. Runners 3-12 in our overall rankings right now will be in this race and to help us get ready for that field is #11 himself, Xian Campbell of Baylor.
Baylor's Xian Campbell placed 7th in DII Class AA last November and hopes to win the Division this season.
Central Magnet vs. Hume-Fogg
Right now I see three teams as the front runners for the revised Division I Class AA/A Girls Team title: Hume-Fogg, Signal Mountain, and Central Magnet. This will be the first opportunity we have to see any combination of these three on the same course. Magnet has the edge at the top with the lead runner in Ouellette and nice #2 in Hamby and in a meet like this that single digit score is more valuable than it may be in November with the field is as competitive. After the meet, we'll really have to dig into the numbers and see how many girls are going to be squeeze in Hamby and their 5 in the field of Tennessee runners that will be at state.
Abby Faith Cheeseman
Yes, she is her own storyline at this point. Her main challenger as MileSplit USA points out in this article is Crawford West who is a senior from Vestivia Hills. With West a 10:18 two miler and Cheeseman already posting a 17:16 this season it isn't beyond the realm of possibility to see sub-17 winning on Saturday. That time may inflate upward based on the weather however. I have no idea how well the course takes on and drains water. Her other most likely challenger is Nolensville's own stellar Freshman Claire Stegall. This will be our first opportunity to see the two on the same course, a matchup I'm looking forward to following for many years to come. Assuming the course is as fast as advertised, Stegall goes under 18 as well.