In Kentucky, they crown "one true champion" for their state basketball tournament. There are no classifications based on enrollment, no separation of public and private, just one class. Saturday in Huntsville is likely the closest we will come to having a cross country field of similar magnitude. The fifth installment of The Southern Showcase will be contested this weekend and though the field will have schools from 9 different states, much of the entries will be from Tennessee. Here's a quick look at who will be racing on Saturday.
Top Individual Boys
* Denotes 2021 State Cross Country State Champion
PB - Personal Best
SB - Season Best
USN's Auldyn Plant won the girl's Blue Division the Southern Showcase in 2021 running 18:52.
Top Individual Girls
While this meet has been full of Tennessee talent since it's inception, this is the first year teams from the Tri-Cities area will make the trip to Huntsville for the Southern Showcase and their presence really elevates this year's field. Dobyns-Bennett brings a resurgent Luke Mussard who looks ready to make a run at sub-15 while Autumn Headrick looks to run her first race under 18. Daniel Boone, who had individual boys place 1-2 at Adidas last year, will forego the brand sponsored meet this season and join the other DBHS at John Hunt Park on Saturday. This is even a change of schedule for Farragut who last season, quietly raced a duel meet essentially on a Friday night last year the same weekend as Showcase. Their attendance really bolsters the team field as it pertains to Tennessee's
Top Tennessee Teams
|Harpeth Hall (3)
|Daniel Boone (4)
|Dobyns Bennett (5)
|Green Hill (6)
|Dobyns Bennett (6)
Who is #1?
There are a few caveats to some of these rankings we're going to have to work through this season and I'll explain as we progress but for starters, the current #1 Ranked Boy's team is Beech who raced at Chickasaw last weekend. Rather than make another trip to Alabama, they are driving north to the Trinity/Valkyrie meet in Louisville. They currently edge Brentwood by 1 point in our power rankings 98-99 in projected team scores. Beech girls are currently ranked 4th and will also be competing there on Saturday as well.
Now as for the girls team rankings you may be looking at this and thinking "How is Brentwood not #1?" Well they are and they aren't. The current #1 team in the rankings is Webb School of Knoxville. The Spartans added three transfers this offseason who will not be eligible during cross country for TSSAA competitions. Carolina Areheart, Kristina Weaver, and Maci Brede will race JV and while their times will factor into the TEAM SCORES calculator, they will not be able to race varsity otherwise. This applies also to Green Hill's #2 runner Allie Bledsoe who was at DCA last season. Webb School of Knoxville will however, as a club, attend team nationals. So while we may not be able to see them at Sander's Ferry, we'll still be able to see what this team is capable of at least once this season with all runners scoring.
But as for Brentwood, they are the reigning Southern Showcase Champions but defending that title this season may be easier said than done. The meet and the course have gained outsized national notoriety and every runner in the country is chomping at the bit at the opportunity to run here. During last year's dominating 150 point victory, the Bruin spread 1-5 was a mere 32 seconds. Through two 5k races so far this season the spread has been 1:10 and 1:27. It's likely enough to retain their victory, but if Brentwood intends to make a splash on Saturday or later in the season on a national caliber stage, the gap one to five will need to look similar to how it did for most of last season.
Hailey Parker, sophomore, was a fringe varsity runner for most of her freshman season but ran #3 for the Bruins at their first meet. With Freshman Lia and Lauren Banovac, they add much needed depth to back end of the scoring for a team looking to make it three in a row.