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.
Ethan Lanning - Beech
Lanning currently ranks 15th in Division I Class AAA where he finished 53rd last year. The Bucs are the current #4 team in the state and look ready to bury any bad memories that have stuck with them since a disappointing finish at state last season.
David Brown - Franklin High School
As we discussed in our preseason feature interview, David Brown closed last season just 1.14 seconds from breaking the sixteen minute barrier and had to live with that time next to his name ever since. Through three 5k's this season, he had only come close to doing so once at Chickasaw earlier last month where he ran 16:02. On Saturday in Georgia, he finally broke through running 15:48 at Asics/Alexander. He placed 33rd in a race that featured a US #1 and was the top finisher for Tennesseans.
Brown crosses the finish line at the 3:36 mark in the race video above.
Nate Martinez - Independence
Independence's Nate Martinez has been on our radar ever since he ran back to back sub sixteen races as a sophomore in the middle of the 2020 cross country season. Unfortunately, he has not replicated those performances since and the highest place he has finished at state is 43rd. He seems to be back on the right track opening this season with a PR at Voyles in 15:39, backing that up with a 15:43 at Southern Showcase, and on Saturday placing 8th at the Louisville Classic in 16:02 and coming away as the top Tennessee finisher.
The Eagles narrowly missed qualifying for state as a team on the boy's side last season but are currently seeded 3rd in a very tight Region 6 competition.
Keegan Smith - Knox Catholic
At the beginning of August, Keegan Smith hit a little speed bump in his training when he had to have dental surgery that sidelined him for a couple of weeks. Even though he opened the season with a 15:30 and 15:07, I hadn't drawn attention to the sophomore from Knoxville yet as we knew bigger performances were on the horizon but 14:53 at Sanders Ferry?! The previous course record was run last year when Miles Ramer ran 15:10 but state level meets take on a life of their own when you're more worried about simply winning than you are about time. At Saturday Light Fever, Smith was able to lock horns with national caliber talent when Hil. Davidson's Connor Ackley from Ohio and Cleveland's Owen Clemons joined him on the line from Ohio and the atmosphere carried all three runners to special performances.