From West Viriginia to Florida, there's plenty of talent available to make the "second" of the big varisity races as good as just about any invitational out there.
Although the Race of Champions garners the most attention, the so-called "second tier" Seeded Race at Great American is really as strong as most multi-state invitationals around the nation.
More Great American Info:
Course Records: Boys | GIrls (via NCPrepTrack.net)
Girls Seeded Race Preview
Individually, Peyton Panger (Capital WV) is a bit of a suprise entrant here, as she has run sub-18 this fall. National Scholastic is always willing to make adjustments to get people into the correct races, even the day before the meet, so don't be surprised is Panger ends up in the ROC, where it sure seems like she could hang with the top 10. If not, she will be pushed by Kayla Holder (Wake Forest NC), who is a patient runner that likes to push hard in the middle of races, a strategy that can pay off well on the WakeMed course. The other main contender is 9th-grader Kaitlyn Lacy (Male KY), and if Panger moves up the battle for the win between Holder and Lacy could be enough to propel both runners under 18 minutes.
Even running without Libby Davidson, who will be in the ROC, E.C. Glass (VA) has a good chance to win this race. They can still place 4 girls in the top 20, although depth is a concern that could leave them vulnerable. Fellow Virginia contender Midlothian has a ton of experience on this course, and that could pay off with a team trophy if things fall their way. Oak Ridge (TN), Hidden Valley (VA), and Peachtree RIdge (GA) all come in with strong enough credentials to contend for one of the top 3 spots.
Boys Seeded Race Preview
This race could have one of the deepest and most competitive lead packs of the day, even in comparison to the ROC. With 5 guys who have run between 15:45 and 15:54 this season, it is awfully hard to project a winner. Frank Pittman (Marist GA) has the best time this season, but Dean McGregor (Fort Myers FL) ran 15:35 last fall. Wesley Robinson (Oak Ridge TN) and Connor Evans (Amherst-Pelham MA) are both brand-new to sub-16 land, and can solidify their standing in their home-state rankings with a good race here. Matt Wallace (Elkins WV) is an enigma - his best time is 15:50, but the next-fastest after that is 16:29, and al of his other performances are over 17 minutes; either he runs most of his races on REALLY tough courses (a real possibility in his state), or the 15:50 was on a short course. We'll find out for sure Saturday!
Oak Ridge (TN) has a strong team overall, and enters as the favortie; that's especially true when you consider they run in a very hilly part of Tennessee, and should have no problem with this course. Farragut could make it a Volunteer State battle for the race title with a good effort, but could also end up battling for second with Bishop Hendricken (RI). Local squad Millbrook (NC) and Fort Myers (FL) both have the ability to get on the podium as teams if everything goes well for them.