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Large, competitive field, set for Bristol Cross

Tanner Cook • Updated Sep 21, 2017 at 7:27 PM

BRISTOL — The 26th edition of the Bristol Cross, set for Saturday at Steele Creek Park, is set to be the largest and the most competitive event in race history with 51 high schools and 25 middle schools from four states.

The meet is expected to be also be one of the most competitive in Tennessee with 11 of the top 15 girls teams coming to the park. This includes the top-ranked girls team in the state, Dobyns-Bennett.

“This is the absolute maximum that we can take at this meet,” said meet director and Tennessee High coach Frankie Nunn. “Usually, our meet is the last weekend in September, but since the city had a scheduling conflict with us, we had to move it up a weekend. That’s why it’s so much bigger than it usually is.”

Girls’ championship race

The girls’ championship race will feature the most intriguing matchups of the day as No. 1 Dobyns Bennett will square off for the second time this season against No. 9 David Crockett.

The Indians are led by Sasha Neglia, who has been on a tear, going undefeated so far this season against very stout competition. The Pioneers are led by the comeback kid, senior Breanna Roy, who was within striking distance of Neglia at the Cherokee Classic two weeks ago.

The race will also feature teams like Knoxville Catholic and Morristown West, both of which are traditionally very strong programs.

Boys’ championship race

The boys’ team competition is set to feature another interesting matchup asDaniel Boone looks to continue its rise with a young team. However, Science Hill has won the team title two out of the past three years. Both teams are very strong up front, but will have to contend with the quick one-two punch of Knox-Webb.

The ’Blazers won last year with Ben Varghese leading the way for Boone as they scored only 40 points.

Jeb Jones has been leading the Hilltoppers this season with two big wins, most recently on the state course in Nashville in a stout field.

The Boone lead runner Chance Bowman and Jones will be in the mix up front on the double loop course, but the individual to keep an eye on is Knox-Webb’s Carter Coughlin, who has already run 15:12 for 5K this fall.

The race will also feature out-of-state teams from both North and South Carolina and bordering schools from Virginia.

The meet kicks off at 9:30 a.m. with the combined junior varsity race. The girls’ championship is set to start at 10:15 with the boys’ championship race taking the course at 11. The course is a double loop and is spectator-friendly with numerous spots to see the runners multiple times during the race.

The meet also features an open race, a two elementary school races, and two middle school races.

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