As the annual Blue Cross SpringFling opens this week in Murfreesboro, a number of area teams have what look to be legitimate chances to win a state championship.
Among the most likely to return with a trophy is the Martin Luther King girls track team, whose chance comes Thursday at the MTSU track.
Granted, the Goodpasture baseball and softball teams go in with formidable credentials in Class AA, the No. 23 ranked (ESPN) Brentwood High soccer team in AAA, and the two-time DII state champ Montgomery Bell Academy tennis team (with a likely strong challenge from Baylor), among others, all seem to have good shots as well.
The Royals have Amia Butler, the defending state champion in the 100-meter hurdles (who set a region record last week), region 100-meter dash champion Lesley Williams, and Jasmine Owens, who was second in the 400 meters. Also, all four relay teams will be in the event.
Butler also might have won the 300 hurdles but she had to leave last week’s meet for graduation ceremonies at Nashville School of the Arts.
“Nothing is guaranteed, but we have put ourselves in good position,” veteran coach Butch Stewart, whose team is going for a third straight state title, said.
In last week’s region meet at David Lipscomb, M.L. King ran away from the field with 153½ points, well ahead of the host school and runner-up, which had 90½.
“We have the 1-2 finishers in the 100, two runners in the 100 hurdles, two in the 400 and, Amia was second in the triple jump,” Stewart said. “In addition, we have two participants in Butler and Terri Cunningham in Monday’s pentathlon where we can also score points.”
The pentathlon and boys decathlon kick of the big week in Murfreesboro. Those events open Monday at 10 a.m.
Stewart said he thought the strongest challengers to the Royals in their march for three gold trophies were Dyersburg and Christian Academy of Knoxville.
“We have six seniors who have stuck it out, most of them since eighth grade and are so dedicated,” he said. “They include Amia, Lesley, Alexa Romersa, Jasmine, Ambria Berryhill, Owens and Kianna Howard.”
Williams and Owens are headed to Tennessee State, Berryhill to Memphis, Howard to UT-Chattanooga and Romersa to Duke. Butler remains undecided on a college choice.
Stewart applauded assistants Steve Brown, who helps with high jumps and relays, and Miana Lee, who assists with hurdles.
In the boys division, David Lipscomb narrowly won with 77 points, edging East Lit with 74, MMLK with 73 and Maplewood with 72. Christ Presbyterian Academy had 68.
“This is my 26th year of coaching at the high school level, and I have never been a part of a meet where this many teams were bunched together so tightly and had a legitimate shot to win the meet,” Lipscomb coach and meet director Tim Taylor said.
Nashville hopes in Spring Fling
• Baseball: Goodpasture (34-3-1) has two undefeated pitchers with double digit wins, almost unheard of – in Hunter Newman (11-0) and Wes Demirgian (10-0) which gives the Cougars a great shot at an eighth crown in AA. Surprising Franklin (26-10), which upset Overton in the region, plays Bearden in its AAA opener Tuesday. Battle Ground Academy, which had two huge wins over Montgomery Bell Academy in sectionals, got a tough opening draw with powerful Memphis University School in DII-AA.
• Softball: Behind ace Mimi Cartwright (19-4), Goodpasture (22-5) opens play against East Hamilton Tuesday. Davidson Academy goes for another crown in DII-A when the Bears open with Tipton-Rosemark.
• Soccer: Nationally ranked Brentwood High (16-1-2), which won its eighth region title in the last 10 years, will take on Science Hill in its opening match Tuesday. David Lipscomb (A/AA), Ryan (DII-AA) and Franklin Road Academy (DII-A) carry Nashville’s hopes.
• Tennis: Montgomery Bell Academy goes for a three-peat, opening with McCallie Tuesday in the DII-AA semifinals. If both win, the Big Red get a rematch with Baylor in the finals. Harpeth Hall has a tough match with Baylor. University School of Nashville meets Donelson Christian Academy meet in the DII-A final four. Christ Presbyterian Academy’s boys have a good shot in A/AA. All team finals matches are Wednesday.
• Track and field: Besides MLK’s girls, Brentwood Academy and Montgomery Bell Academy boys look to fight it out for the DII championship. Brentwood High is gunning for both boys and girls AAA titles.
• Two sign: Hunters Lane High wrestling standouts Trenton Bell and Kevin Boston have signed with Cumberland University. Bell was a semifinalist in the Class AAA state tournament in the 152-pound weight division the past February.
• Ravenwood falls: Ravenwood’s hopes for a state softball berth took a huge hit when nationally ranked Beech lost in the region finals, which matched the two in a sectional contest. Ravenwood made eight errors in a disappointing, season-ending 8-2 rain-shortened loss to the Bucs on Friday.
• McPherson’s new job: Former David Lipscomb boys basketball coach Mike McPherson has accepted a position as assistant coach at Nashville Christian School under coach Charlie Anderson.
• College award: Former Ensworth High School tennis standout Rand Jackson, a freshman at the University of the South, was named to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference first-team for the Tigers.
• Golf tournament: The eighth annual Nick Coutras Award golf tournament will be held 1 p.m. Thursday at the Hermitage course in Hermitage with a shotgun start. As of Sunday, there were still three team spots available. For info, call Chris Coutras at 775-7475 or Gary Kimball at 480-9900.
• Correction: David Lipscomb has won seven state baseball championships. Their total is the same as Goodpasture, and the two are tied for the most in the area. The number of David Lipscomb’s championships was incorrectly reported a week ago.