With the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association postseason heating up and Spring Fling just two weeks away, here’s a look at five things to keep an eye on as Midstate teams and individuals battle for a spot in Murfreesboro:
For the Christ Presbyterian Academy boys soccer squad, the last two seasons have ended with the team hoisting a Class A/AA state championship trophy, and the Lions appear poised for a another title run in 2016.
CPA (16-0-3), which will square off with Cascade in Tuesday’s District 12-A/AA semifinal at Page, recently polished off an undefeated regular season — due in large to 2015 All-Midstate second-team selection Harrison Myers, who has a team-leading 11 goals and five assists.
The Lions, coming off a 10-0 district quarterfinal win over Loretto, have only had three teams push them to draws this season, and one came against defending Division II-AA state champion Montgomery Bell Academy (6-1-3).
Friendship looks to repeat
Of the five softball state titles up for grabs in 2015, Midstate teams Wilson Central (AAA), Forrest (A) and Friendship Christian (DII-A) took home three of them.
Friendship Christian (33-7-1), led by 2015 All-Midstate first-teamer Courtney Miles (9 HRs), hasn’t cooled off much since last season’s championship campaign as the Lady Commanders coasted to a Division II-A East/Middle District 1 tournament title by a combined 25-0 tally, including a 9-0 semifinal win over 2015 runner-up King’s Academy.
Wilson Central (23-9) and Forrest (24-8), meanwhile, haven’t experienced quite the same level of success as a season ago.
Forrest (24-8), which graduated a pair of All-Midstate selections from last year’s team in Katie Warrick and Briar Mayes, also failed to win its district this season, dropping a pair of regular-season games to eventual 9-A champion Moore County.
For just the second time since 2010, the Class AAA boys tennis singles champion will not be named Karl, opening the door for a new champion in 2016.
Ravenwood graduates and brothers Sean and Steven Karl combined to win five of the previous six individual championships, and while Steven had one year of high school eligibility remaining, the two-time defending champion opted to get a head start on his collegiate career, enrolling at Tennessee a semester early.
Hendersonville senior Kato Richardson and White County junior Cole Crosland each made it to the state tournament a season ago and will look to take the next step this season.
However, standing in their way will likely be more top-notch Williamson County competition in the form of Brentwood juniors Sam Fischer and Andrew Rodgers.
Last season, Fischer posted an 8-3 record with all three defeats coming to Karl, while the 10-1 Rodgers’ lone loss came against Fischer.
Summit doesn’t have the longest or most storied history when it comes to baseball, but that has begun to change this season.
Summit, which opened in 2011, is in the midst of its most successful season, and the Spartans, No. 2 in the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Class AAA rankings, don’t look be slowing down any time soon.
Summit (27-4), which opened District 11-AAA tournament play Sunday with a 1-0 win over Independence, coasted to a 16-2 record against league competition, and the Wil Dalton-led Spartans have won 11 games in a row.
Dalton, a San Jacinto College signee who is likely to be taken in next month’s major league draft, is batting close to .500 with more than 25 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. Freshman right-hander Chris Mcelvain, a Vanderbilt commitment, is 6-0 with 57 strikeouts and a 0.53 ERA.
Top track talent
Brentwood Academy’s George Patrick and Ensworth’s Tyra Gittens — last year’s Tennessean Midstate Track Athletes of the Year — lead the pack of area athletes who appear poised to claim titles at this year’s state track championships.
And after combining to win 10 Division II titles last year, including victories in the decathlon (6,882 points) and pentathlon (3,681), the pair could make similar hauls this season.
Patrick, a Texas signee, set a personal record in the 110-meter hurdles at last week’s Great 8 Invitational, finishing in 13.98 — just 0.15 shy of the 35-year-old state record set by Whites Creek’s Jeff Powell in 1981.
Gittens, who has received scholarship offers from Georgia, Arkansas and LSU, has consistently bested her competition in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles, and 200-meter dash, and she ran a personal-best 24.80 in the 200 at last month’s Hill Center Invitational.