Brentwood Academy is looking for its 24th state championship this May. And throughout the years, they've brought home the team title in Division II with a balanced attack.
This year is no exception.
The Eagles have one of the best all-around teams in the state. They'll have less competition this year too. Division II is split in two divisions now, so only 11 teams will compete in the Division II Large Schools.
Reclassification also changes the qualification process. The top performer in each region gets an automatic bid to the state meet, followed by the next five marks from any region.
Here are our preseason rankings in this new look division as the outdoor season continues to get started.
1. Brentwood Academy
The Eagles have won three state championships in a row. That includes the most points ever scored at a state meet (211) back in 2016.
On paper, it looks like this year may feature more of the same.
The Eagles come into this season with four athletes that have state's top mark. But BA often doesn't have the most individual victories. They have sheer numbers that make the difference.
At the state meet, Brentwood Academy is projected to score 45 points in the field. Michael Archie (46-01 triple jump) and Caleb Harris (6-6 high jump) lead the way in that category. On the track, Kenyon Garlington has personal bests of 10.96 and 22.14 in the 100 and 200. Griffin Hodge will likely add some points in the sprint events as well. Vanderbilt football signee Camron Johnson will make a big impact all across the track too.
And then there's the distance crew, who is projected to finish 1-2-3 in the 3200. The trio of Matthew McMillan, Matthew Porter and George Payne will pick up major points in that event. When you add Eddie Lunn (4:32) to the mix in the 1600 as well, you really see how complete this Eagles team really is. With solid relay depth, elite field events and a distance squad that won a state XC title in November, this team is loaded.
In our virtual meet preview, BA comes in with 150 points. That's double the next closest total.
2. McCallie School
Hakim McMorris is the athlete to watch for the Blue Tornado. He won the decathlon last year, and will be the favorite this spring. He could join MUS's Harrison Williams and BA's George Patrick as the only male athletes to ever score 50 points at the state meet.
Entering the season, he's projected to win the decathlon, long jump, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 400. If he's able to pull that off, McCallie has a chance to make this team race interesting.
The Blue Tornado were also one of the surprise teams of the cross country season. McCallie placed second at the state cross country meet, scoring 52 points. That was only 21 points behind BA, who's won four straight team titles.
Dawson Carmack and Duke Richey led the way in 6th and 7th. Chris Duncan and Samuel Ligon were both all-state performers too.
Carmack's 3200 personal best is 10:22, but given the fact that he broke through to run 17:03 in the fall, he's ready for a breakthrough. Similarly, Richey comes in at 10:38 and 4:55. But he ran 16:56 in cross country last fall. At the moment, McCallie isn't projected to score in the distance events. We think that will change at the season progresses.
3. Christian Brothers High School
Christian Brothers has a very balanced team. They're right in the mix with McCallie and MBA, who are in a virtual three-way-tie for second.
Antonio Lay has a chance to sweep the 100 and 200. He set CBHS's school records in both events last weekend at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans. His personal bests of 10.60 and 21.93 would contend for the individual title in any division. He also comes in with the second best mark in the long jump at 21-3.
In the throws, Patrick Healy is the favorite to bring home gold in the shot put this May. His personal best (52-10) is a foot better than the rest of the state. Jacob Likes will likely qualify in both throwing events and score points alongside Healy as well.
The Purple Wave will also be able to score some points all season in the 1600. The duo of Thomas Shallow and Zach Hammack is one of the better tandems in the state. They both come into the season with sub-4:40 personal bests. That's good for seven points in the 1600 entering the season.
4. Montgomery Bell Academy
The Big Red are always in the mix come spring. And they have the potential to contend for one of the top few spots this season as well.
In the distance events, Graham Ragsdale as the second-best time in the state for 800 and 1600 meters entering the season. He's run 2:00 and 4:30, which would be enough for 16 points at the moment. Isaac Wills (4:37/2:01) has the potential to get on the scoreboard as well in May.
McClain Portis will also be able to score lots of points. He's one of the athletes to watch in the field this season. Portis is projected to score 17 points on his own. He has personal best marks of 43-06 in the triple jump, 6-4 in the high jump and 20-08 in the long jump. Those are good enough to contend for a championship in each event.
Sam Dugan is right around the top five in the 100 and 200. John Curry has a contending time in the high and intermediate hurdles. Good days from those two will help MBA's chances of finishing in the top three this season.
5. Father Ryan High School
The Fighting Irish of Father Ryan round out our preseason top five in DII-AA.
University of Tennessee commit Joe Hoots is projected to score 25 points on his own. The senior has the top time in the division for both 800 (1:55) and 1600 meters (4:29). He'll likely run the 4x800 as well, which will help the Irish contend for the top three. And if he decides to run all four distance events, Hoots has the fourth-fastest 3200 PB in the field at 9:55. Or Hoots could enter the 400, where he has the eighth-fastest mark in the state (52.73).
Ryan Knapp (10:00 3200) and Jonathan Conricode (4:39 1600) are also projected to make the field, which would add five more points. Outside of those three distance runners, the only other athlete projected to make the state meet for Ryan is Sebastian Jones. His 400 personal best of 51.15 places him third in the state to start the season.
Honorable Mention: Briarcrest Christian School, Memphis University School, Ensworth