Hocker is ready to go sub-15, how fast will he go Saturday?
How Well Will Bates Fare Against Ewert?
Saturday will be the first major challenge of the season for Phoebe Bates. She will toe the line with not only some of the best teams in the state of Indiana, but a couple of the best from Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. This will also be her first look at Lavern Gibson before the state meet as well.
She will get to go stride for stride with one of the nation's best runners, Taylor Ewert, as well. Ewert dropped a US #7 17:08.10 last weekend at the Centerville Saturday Night Lights meet in Ohio. She was also 4th at last year's NXR qualifier, coming across in 17:44.2. Bates was 12th in that same race finishing in 18:04.7.
Bate's has mostly been racing solo this season and this will be a little bit of a change for her to have someone to race with and give her a good idea of pacing with someone else.
Saturday's Nike Valley Twilight race will give a good look at both juniors before they enter their championship seasons then hopefully meet up here again in November.
Will anyone be able to challenge Cole Hocker?
Cole Hocker has looked nearly untouchable this season, running a 15:02.73 at the FlashRock Invite nearly two weeks ago. He took last weekend off for a college visit but will be back on the course Saturday night at the Nike Valley Twilight meet. On 9/1 he ran 15:35.90 for 5K on an extremely hot day at the Lavern Gibson course. With the temp at 8pm predicted to be about 60 degrees, it should provide for a much better time than he did in early September. Last year at the state meet, he ran 15:19.5 and then at NXR he ran 15:42.60. He is flirting with that sub-15 elite group, although this weekend may not be the time to do it, it will be a good test of his ability to lead a big time race out in Terre Haute.
A couple questions can be asked, how fast will he run this weekend, and will anyone try and challenge him? Based on current season PR's, it doesn't look like anyone will be able to hang with him for very long. Luke Combs and Ethan Meyer could possibly hang with him for about a 3K but will likely drop back a little after that.
Where Are The Zionsville Girls?
The 2017 cross country state champions are not listed as competing in the championship race on Saturday night. When looking at the individual entries though, it appears their top 7 are slated to race. So were curious as to why they either didn't get selected by meet management to be in that race or what their reasoning is for not wanting to be in that race. Last year after winning a state title, many expected them to come out to Nike Regionals and put forth a solid effort at making it to nationals, but they didn't come to that either. This Zionsville Girls team is a little bit of a mystery and Saturday will be no different.
Will this be a mini-state meet?
On the boy's side of things this is shaping up to be a possible preview of the state meet. 9 of the top 25 ranked teams, based on the IATCCC rankings, are set to compete with each other in the championship race. Top ranked Fishers, HSE, Carmel, Zionsville, Bloomington South, Columbus North, Avon and Noblesville will all get to race each other on the state course just about 30 days before the big show. The number one individual, as well as a few other top 20 guys, will all face off against each other. Saturday night could provide a good look at how the IHSAA state meet will play out in just about a month's time.
No matter what happens, we are sure to see some amazing racing go down from all. This event will provide opportunities to get tuned up and ready for the next month of racing as well as provide athletes with a unique experience of running under the lights at Lavern Gibson.