MURFREESBORO — The Fling begins today.
The TSSAA’s Spring Fling, an Olympic-style festival that includes all five of the high school athletic association’s state tournaments, kicks off in Rutherford County today at MTSU with the pentathlon and decathlon.
By week’s end, 44 team state champions will be crowned in baseball, boys soccer, softball, tennis and track and field.
Here is a look at this week’s Spring Fling, from A to Z.
A – Aliah Cook. The La Vergne junior will be favored to be a finalist in both the 100-meter and 300 hurdles in the Class AAA state track and field meet. She had the fastest sectional time in the state for the 300 hurdles.
B – Buddy & Barry. Central Magnet coach Buddy Powers and Riverdale coach Barry Messer have led their respective teams to Spring Fling for consecutive years. Riverdale is making a third straight trip.
C – Closer. Riverdale junior shortstop Drew Huff has seven saves in a relief role for the Warriors, who are in their third straight state tournament.
D – Dean Hayes. The MTSU track and field facility, which is named after Hayes, is the site of all track and field events during Spring Fling. He and former TSSAA executive director Ronnie Carter came up with the idea of Spring Fling.
E – Eighth-graders. A pair of eighth-graders will meet in the Class A/AA boys doubles quarterfinals when TCA and MTCS meet. Will Reeves is the Cougars’ eighth-grader. Will Richardson is TCA’s eighth grader.
F – First Tennessee. The winner of the First Tennessee All Sports trophy will be determined after Spring Fling. The award goes to the school in The DNJ’s coverage area that had the best athletic school year. Siegel leads with 165 points entering Spring Fling. Central Magnet is second with 143.
G – Gibbs and Greenbrier. They are two of the favorites to win softball state titles this week. Gibbs is one of the favorites in Class AAA and Greenbrier in one of the favorites in Class AA.
H – Houston. The Shelby County baseball team is back in the state tournament for the first time since it was runner-up in 2010. The Mustangs were banned from postseason play in 2011 and 2012 after getting into a brawl with Briarcrest.
I – Individual. Central Magnet senior Andre Hillsman won an individual state title in the 3,200 a year ago, and will attempt to defend that title this week.
J – Jackson. Junior McKenzie Jackson bats leadoff for Central Magnet, which is advancing to the Class AA baseball state tournament for the second straight year.
K – Kovach. Siegel senior Marissa Kovach will compete in the Class AAA tennis state team tournament as well as the singles individual state tournament for Siegel. She is a Bellarmine signee.
L – Left out. No Rutherford County softball team advanced to the state tournament for the second time since 2009. The county has had two state softball champions in that same span.
M – Magnet schools. The Class A/AA boys soccer tournament features three magnet schools — Central Magnet, Hume-Fogg and Madison Academic.
N – New champion. There will be no back-to-back state baseball state champions in Division I this year after none of the three state champions from 2013 reached this year’s state tournament.
O – Old Fort Park. The tennis facility underwent a renovation a few years back to add more tennis courts. A new indoor facility is scheduled to be in place by next year’s Spring Fling.
P – Paxton Stover. The left-handed pitcher and Mississippi State signee along with right-hander Tristan Barlow, an Ole Miss commitment, have helped lead Dyer County baseball back to the Class AAA state tournament.
Q – Questions? Go to the TSSAA headquarters, located at SportsCom. And if you are looking for a score, call the TSSAA hotline at 877-395-5091.
R – Relay. The Central Magnet 4×800-meter relay team is the defending state champion in Class A/AA.
S – Siegel. One of the baseball sites for this week’s Class AAA state tournament, which will include Riverdale for the third straight year.
T – Twitter. Follow the DNJ’s Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks), Will Borthick (@WillBorthick) and Tom Kreager (@Kreager) for updates from Spring Fling all week long.
U – Umbrellas. There is a slight chance of rain on Friday. But umbrellas may come in handy this week to be used as shade with hot temperatures expected to hit Murfreesboro.
V – Vanderbilt. Future Commodore pitchers Collin Snider (Riverdale) and Farragut’s Patrick Raby are in the same portion of the Class AAA state baseball bracket.
W – Winter kill. The cold winter has left several dead spots on the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex’s Bermuda fields.
X – XXI. This marks the 21st year of Spring Fling, the Olympic-style festival featuring the TSSAA’s five spring sports state tournaments.
Y – Yates. Oakland senior Caleb Yates will compete in the shot put and discus for the second straight year. He was sixth in the shot put a year ago.
Z – Zavior Phillips. The Central Magnet forward has a team-high 12 goals along with five assists for the Tigers, who are in their first Spring Fling.