Performer Of The Week
Every week this season we will be conducting a poll from beginning Monday and ending Thursday to highlight performances from the previous week. This will give us an opportunity to showcase the best talent in Tennessee. Though some athletes will likely run times every week that are worthy of being in the poll, our goal is to cast a wide net and showcase a vast array of athletes from all parts of the state.
Claire Stegall - Nolensville
Even though Claire Stegall lit the track ablaze last spring, until last weekend it had been over a year since the sophomore from Nolensville ran a race on the a course. As she did last season, she opened with a victory at the Voyles Classic running a full minute faster than she did as a freshman. Her 17:08 is a course record for the Hermitage and currently ranks #6 in our database All-Time for five thousand meters.
On Saturday, while battling illness (per her mother's Instagram) she placed runner up in the championship division at The Southern Showcase running 17:20.
Meriel Rowland - Hutchison
While some cross country runners seem to be in another state in the Southeast every other weekend, that is not the case for Meriel Rowland. Through the first nine races of her career, seven of them have been contested in the 901 (Memphis Area). The two other races outside of that area code were the state meet. Saturday was her first opportunity to race outside of Tennessee and she took advantage of the opportunity. Rowland placed 19th in the championship division with a time of 18:40. It was her first time under the nineteen minute mark. She was close to accomplishing this week earlier in her opener when she won the Fast & Furious Invitational for the second year in a row with a 19:02.
She currently ranks 13th overall and 2nd in Division II Class AA of eligible runners.
Lydia Cromwell - Brentwood
As was the case with Claire Stegall, I was first introduced to Lydia Cromwell at last year's Voyles Classic where she placed 3rd overall leading the Bruins to an overall team victory. In the 11 races since, she has finished #1 for Brentwood in nine of them and in second for the other two. During this stretch the Bruins have not lost as a team at any meet except for Garmin RunningLane. On Saturday, they returned to John Hunt Park and defended their title in an ever increasingly elite field of teams at the Southern Showcase with Cromwell pacing the Bruins yet again with an 8th place finish crossing in season's best 18:21.
While this wasn't a PR or her highest finish of the season, she's the #1 runner for the state's #1 team and has been for two seasons and this seemed like an appropriate time to highlight that consistency.
Abi Cobb - Liberty Creek
When we recapped this Updog Opener in early August, though Abi Cobb did not run, her rezoning from Station Camp to Liberty Creek was noted in how it could shake up the the individual race in Class AA/A. After two races the past two weekends, the potential impact is glaring. Cobb opened her season last Saturday at Voyles where she ran 18:55 finishing 10th overall. It was the sophomore's first time under the nineteen minute mark but she was also the first girl in Class AA/A to do so this season. The next best time currently is 19:12. On Saturday she widened that lead after finishing 16th at Southern Showcase with an 18:38.
At the outset of the season, the individual race for this class appeared to be wide open but the window of opportunity appears to be closing for others every time Cobb races.