RECAP: KYA HS Indoor Classic Does Not Disappoint

The 2023 KYA Indoor Classic

I am just wondering if it was the pandemic lull in competition that just pushed everyone to suddenly come out and compete this weekend. Over a thousand athletes showed up at this KYA Indoor meet. Could it be that Track & Field is becoming a major sport... Track tends to get a good number of spectators, but the bottom line with Track is that we get a ton of athletes come out to compete because they just want to test their talents. Very few worry much about the spectators... it's great to have them, but the focus on most of these athletes is on how well can they perform on any specific day of the year. This KYA Indoor meet was definitely a testament to how these athletes come out to just showcase their talents.. whether it be at the front of the pack or at the end, they've come in droves to compete. As a fan of the sport, I'm in awe at the participation levels at this years indoor meet!

Here's a little run down on how the running events went on this great Saturday of track!

Gabrielle Boulay of Centennial posted a time of 2:16.99 to win the 800M. In 2017, Gabrielle came in 11th in the 800 at this indoor meet. This year she drops one of those "1's" and post a win to add to her 2022 State championship and Great Eight Invitational wins. This performance should keep her name as the favorite to repeat as 800 Champion for both the Indoor and Outdoor 800 state races. Abby Miller of Kinder Sport went 2:18.91 setting a pretty impressive new PR for her to get into the runner up spot at this meet. These two could meet again at the State Indoor, and if so, that should be a very fun race to watch!

The boys 800 race at this indoor meet has always been one of the exciting races to watch. Last season at the New Balance indoors, Keegan Smith won the freshman race running a bit under 2 minutes. Running for Knoxville Catholic, Keegan won the D2A state 1600 at last years outdoor season.

Julian Carter II, a junior at Marion HS in Arkansas decided to make the trip to Nashville and post a pretty solid time of 1:55.45 and take the top spot in the 800 for the boys. Brendan Ruggles was the runner up in 1:58.16 and a blink of an eye behind him was Collierville's Kaleb Conway in 1:58.66. Rounding out the group of sub 2 minute finalist was State CC champion, Owen Clemons of Cleveland (1:59.58).

The dashes in these indoor meets tend to draw pretty large crowds. I mean, who doesn't want to run in perfect weather on a really fast surface! If you don't get off to a good start, these races will get past you in a blink of an eye. You had to be shocked when the heat sheets came out for these races... 37 heats for the boys and girls 60M dash was something! But that was nothing compared to 58 heats for the girls and boys 200M! That meant just about anyone that could put on a pair of spikes seemed to want to show up for this race! And they did.

The field was narrowed down to eight in the boys 60M dash. Not surprising, State Champion Jordan Ware was in that final and - not surprising again - ended up on the top of the podium with his 6.88. That was 0.1 ahead of John Sherman III (6.98). John was runner up to Jordan in last years 100M State Championships and being that close certainly does look like he'll want to give Jordan a run at it again this May. We could also see a fantastic State Indoor the way these times are looking.

The DMR is always a fun race to watch on this 300M indoor track. As you'd expect, the usual big name teams showed up again... Houston, Southwind, Brentwood. On the girls side, Houston's team took first in 12:57.76 and their neighbor, Collierville, was second a bit behind them in 13:57.91. It seems there's always a solid group of distance girls coming out of that Houston program! The boys side was a bit tighter race with D2AA's McCallie's guys running up front in 11:01.78. E Distance team (seemed to be a team out of Chattanooga) trailed the McCallie guys posting a 11:17.70 runner up spot. Oak Ridge just a few seconds back to get the bronze in 11:20.57. All said, there were eight teams that broke under 12 minutes for this DMR. Although sometimes confusing to watch on the indoor circuit, this DMR certainly had it's share of excitement!

With one lap and an extra 100M's to go, the 400M dash at this indoor facility seems to bring out some of the best times. With eighteen girls seeded under the minute mark signing up for the race, it could have been considered the premier event of the night.

University of Iowa commitment and coming from South Carolina, Olicia Lucas was the top seed coming into this 400M race and she showed her talent here by posting one fast 56.34. All said, five girls dropped times under 1 minute. Kaylin Jackson running for D4 Training group was runner up in 58.24 and Houston's Eva Gautreaux was in the bronze spot with her 58.59. That was also a new Indoor PR for Eva and about a second faster than what she's run last indoor season. Looks like this is a good start for this Senior athlete.

The girls 3200 wasn't going to be a surprise once I saw Webb's Abby Faith Cheeseman on the heat sheet. It was how fast and where would she end up on the national ranking when the race was over was the only suspense. The answer is 1st and 2nd. Just over half a second behind the nations best, Abby Faith ran 10:33.81. Sydney Tackett was leading the chase pack and came in second in 11:14.48, which is a top 5 national time and no slouch of a race either!!

Chance Underwood started out the boys 2 mile and got pushed a bit by Zachary Youngblood and Drew Johnson, but overall ended up with a decent lead crossing the line in 9:45.51. Zachary was 9:52.59 and Drew finished out the top three under 10 minutes in 9:56.75.

As we reached the early evening hours, the mile run was the next event up. What do you think the girls mile looked like? Abby Faith came in with her usual strong start and kept it going until she crossed the line in 5:06.92. Not a top national mark but still a top 20 and an impressive win after running that strong 2 mile race. The runner up spot was definitely a race to watch. Just a couple seconds from Abby Faith's finish was Anna Graves posting a 5:11.77 and Jazzlyn Garmer two hundredths behind in 5:11.79. That for sure was a tight race for the runner up spot.

The boys mile started out with McCallies Jack Bowen taking the lead and pushing himself to a 4:20.58 finish and a first place spot in this fast mile race. Ten athletes ran under the 4:30 mark this evening. Three of those were from the McCallie group - Hugh Carlson (4:26.41), Evan Simpson (4:26.41) and Harry Carter (4:26.65) rounded out that groups top 10 finishers. Pretty impressive and may be something to look forward too in the spring.

This is a short recap of some of the running events. Without a doubt, this proves Track & Field in Tennessee is alive and well and a sport that is growing and growing across the state. If you're a fan of the sport, it's a great time for that. If you're an athlete, you are involved in a very competitive sport with a lot of great athletes showcasing their talents... and showcasing their love of the sport... so keep on trucking... spike up, we're in for a pretty good season!!


Coach Ted