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Big 7 boys preview: Tribe's Williams looks to burnish stellar resume

Tanner Cook • Apr 26, 2019 at 7:15 AM

KINGSPORT — With lots of talent coming through the ranks and displaying their abilities at big-time meets, the Big 7 Conference has a storied history in track and field.

The Big 7 meet will be renewed on Friday at Dobyns-Bennett with a star-studded field in the lead-up to the state meet in May.

The following is a brief boys preview based on the virtual meet projections on Tennessee Milesplit. Action begins at 4:30 p.m.

100-METER DASH

Favorite: Jeamy Williams, D-B.

Dark horse: Aziz Dunn, D-B.

Williams has been the hunted for the last two years in the conference and this season has been no different. The senior comes in as the only athlete with a personal best under 11 seconds, currently seeded at 10.96.

200-METER DASH

Favorite: Jeamy Williams, D-B.

Dark horse: Victor Lam, Science Hill.

Williams is again an overwhelming favorite, but the real question will be if he can dip under the 22-second barrier as his season best is 22.02. Look for the constantly improving Lam to place well for the Hilltoppers in an event dominated by D-B.

400-METER DASH

Favorite: Jeamy Williams, D-B.

Dark horse: Bryson Gilliam, D-B.

The 400 is Williams’ best event, so it will be a true upset if anyone gets within the same zip code as the senior. The up-and-coming Gilliam is making a bid for freshman of the year in the conference, as he is currently second for the Tribe.

800 METERS

Favorite: Jeb Jones, Science Hill.

Dark horse: Max Austin, Daniel Boone.

The Hilltopper senior has been at the forefront of the distance pack since last season and it has been rare for anyone outside his own team to challenge Jones in distance events. He is the only entry under 2:00, seeded at 1:59.63. Austin has been having a breakout junior year for Boone and will look to provide some big points for the Trailblazers.

1,600 METERS

Favorite: Aaron Jones, Science Hill.

Dark horse: Matt Huff, Daniel Boone.

Like his counterpart, Aaron Jones comes into the 1,600 as a massive favorite with a seed time of 4:33.71. Look for the Boone senior Huff to mix it up at the front, as he has a strong finishing kick in what will most likely be a strategy race.

3,200 METERS

Favorite: Caleb Archer, Tennessee High.

Dark horse: Anderson Fickley, Science Hill.

The 3,200 is by far the weakest event on the boys side this year, sporting no entries under 10:30. Fickley will most likely work with fellow junior teammate Zach Cooper near the front and ratchet the pace down toward the end of the race.

110-METER HURDLES

Favorite: Connor Morgan, Science Hill.

Dark horse: Tanner Henry, D-B.

It’s not quite the T.J. Patton traveling hurdles show of last season, but Morgan has provided some firepower for the ‘Toppers in the 110 hurdles — harboring the only seed time under 16 seconds at 15.70. Henry could make some noise for the Tribe, but it will all depend on what field events he does beforehand.

300 HURDLES

Favorite: Tyler Tesnear, D-B.

Dark horse: Seth Banchetto, Daniel Boone.

The first two entries are separated by less than a half-second and could provide for the closest race of the day. Both are sophomores as well, so the show will only get better in the coming years.

4x100-METER RELAY

Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett.

Dark horse: Science Hill.

It will mostly depend on who runs which legs, but the Indians have historically dominated the sprint relays in the conference. Science Hill could sneak by D-B if someone is exhausted from previous running or field events.

4x200-METER RELAY

Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett.

Dark horse: Science Hill.

The Indians have a bit firmer grip in the 4x200 than in the 4x100, but it will all depend again on who runs which legs. Tennessee High could also make some noise if one of the top dogs slips up.

4x400-METER RELAY

Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett.

Dark horse: Daniel Boone.

The 4x400 relay has been the signature event for the Tribe over the past decade, and with time in between events after the 200, all the legs should be ready to go. Even though Boone is seeded third behind D-B and Science Hill, the ‘Blazers will put themselves in a good position late in the race.

4x800-METER RELAY

Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett.

Dark horse: Daniel Boone, Science Hill.

The Tribe may have the fastest time on paper, but this is an event Boone has come to know as its signature event. And with it being the first running event of the day, the ‘Blazers should be pumped to run a solid time. Science Hill could also be a factor, depending on who runs.

SHOT PUT

Favorite: Cade Salyers, D-B.

Dark horse: Jeremiah Sullivan, Daniel Boone.

Richmond football signee Salyers has been having a solid season for D-B and comes in with a best of 49-1. Sullivan will push him, especially on the first throw, but Salyers has a nearly four-foot advantage coming into the meet.

DISCUS

Favorite: Richard Landry, Volunteer.

Dark horse: Jeremiah Sullivan, Daniel Boone.

The Volunteer senior has definitely impressed this spring and has a season-best throw of 148-10, but one cannot count out Sullivan. The discus will probably be the most entertaining field event of the day.

LONG JUMP

Favorite: Aziz Dunn, D-B.

Dark horse: Tanner Henry, D-B.

Dunn comes in with a mark of 21-4 on the season and the Indians have claimed the first two positions in the projections. Henry continues his decathlon training, so it will be interesting to see his distribution of energy throughout the day.

TRIPLE JUMP

Favorite: Ekeminiabasi Eno-Ekefre, Science Hill.

Dark horse: Tanner Henry, D-B.

Eno-Ekefre has been at the top all season in the triple jump, and that should not change come Friday. The junior comes in with a leap of 42-5.5 to his name, and the triple jump is not one of Henry’s strong suits.

HIGH JUMP

Favorite: Tanner Henry, D-B.

Dark horse: Samuel Cleek, D-B.

The high jump is Henry’s best event, but the consistency this year has been somewhat off in terms of winning. He lost to his teammate Cleek at the DC/TC Relays, and this should be a fun duel between three teammates (including freshman Riley Wagner) who have all cleared six feet this season.

POLE VAULT

Favorite: Samuel Cleek, D-B.

Dark horse: Devin Mckenna, Daniel Boone.

Cleek and Mckenna have the same season-best clearance of 13 feet. The pole vault will probably not come down to a jump-off, but if it does, it could get interesting. The pole vault is always a fun event to follow.

TEAM TITLE

Favorite: Dobyns-Bennett.

Dark horse: Science Hill.

It will most likely be too many points in the field events for Science Hill to overcome, unless the ‘Toppers sweep every distance event with the top three finishers and hold position in the relays. The Tribe has a considerable advantage in the short sprints with Williams and in the field with Henry competing in a number of events.

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