In only it's third year, the Tim Nixon Invitational has already proven to be a testing ground for the some of the best teams and individuals in the state. This year should prove to be no different, and it'll definitely be a meet I'll be checking the live results for Saturday morning.
Individuals to Watch
The girls individual race has the top two finishers from the Class 4 state meet squaring off to start the season. What more could you ask for? Defending state champion Carolyn Ford (Rock Bridge) comes in with a personal best of 18:08 from state, and she'll be dueling with Mya Trober (Blue Springs South) who finished just behind her at Gans Creek last year with an 18:13. These two young stars should set the table for a very fast day at the wild flower course.
Other athletes to watch Saturday include Makayla Clark (Lee's Summit West) with a personal best of 18:26, Olivia Littleton (Smithville) who owns an 18:45, and Haley Baldwin (Lee's Summit West) who has ran 18:49. Someone else to keep an eye on is St. Teresa's freshman Gracie Jacobs who won a 2 mile race against Clark just this past weekend with an 11:43.
The Boys race looks to be a good one too. The overall top returner in the state, Matthew Hauser (Rock Bridge), owns a personal best of 15:24 that earned him a third place finish last year at state. He'll look to get off to good start in his first 5K of the season and earn his second win after last weeks 4K win at McNair. Brock Wooderson (Blue Springs) has the next fastest time at 15:40, and won this meet a year ago. Sam Travis (Liberty North) as just behind him with a 15:50 that he ran at state last year where he bested Wooderson.
Other athletes to watch include Nathan Barry (Central - St. Joseph) who has ran 15:56, Corbin Cera (Central - St. Joseph) who ran 15:58, and Ethan Lee (Liberty North) who owns a personal best of 15:59.
Teams to WatchAs far as the team title race is concerned, we'll also see a rematch between the top two finishers from last year, as well as the fourth place finisher in Class 4. Lee's Summit West is the defending state champion, but comes into the 2020 outside the top 10 (barely, they were 11th) after getting hit hard by graduation last year. However, the Titans have knack for retooling so I wouldn't be surprised to see them having a good day. Rock Bridge was the runner up last season, but enters the season as the number one ranked team in Class 5, and they'll look to start off on the right foot in their first 5K's after winning a 4K race at McNair last weekend.
Blue Springs South was fourth in Class 4 last year, and enters the season ranked sixth in Class 5. They will look to start their season off with a bang as they look for another state trophy in 2020. Liberty comes into the season as the fourth ranked team in Class 5, and they'll look to defend their home turf and have a good start to the season. St. Teresa's is also a sleeper pick in this one, and are Class 4's second ranked team coming into the season. They looked really strong in the 2 mile race last weekend, beating the defending champs in Lee's Summit West. With seven girls sub 12:45, they could definitely be a player this weekend.
The Boys race will feature half of the top ten teams in the MileSplit Missouri Class 5 subjective rankings. Number one ranked Central (St. Joseph) will look maintain their sport as they match up with second ranked Rock Bridge who won handily last week at McNair. Fourth ranked Liberty North, sixth ranked Liberty, and seventh ranked Lee's Summit West are also in the field and should make things very interesting. Rockhurst also had strong showing in a 2 mile race where they beat Lee's Summit West last week and could offer a challenge in this race as well.