* On the latest episode of On The Line, the crew discussed the RunningLane Track Championships
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The anticipation for the elite races at the RunningLane Track Championships has been building for weeks now.
With a day to go until the kick-off of the inaugural event in Madison, Alabama, we know a few things for certain: Blue-chip athletes are set to compete, and elite-level times are going to be run on Friday and Saturday -- you can catch all the action on MileSplit, by the way.
From there, only the athletes can determine the rest.
But there's no doubt we're excited by the prospect of potential history going down, either in the form of national record attempts, state-record level runs or even those barometer-setting marks like sub-1:50, sub-4 and sub-9.
We will have all the coverage here on MileSplit. Below, we dive into five storylines that will make this meet all the more interesting to watch.
Honorable Mention: Sully Shelton, Harrison (GA), Mile; Ben Shearer, The Woodlands Christian, Mile; DecClan McDonnell, Tatnall (DE), Mile; Riley Hough, Hartland (MI), Mile, 3,200m; Alex Leath, Vestavia Hills (AL), 800m; Saxon Brown, Simpsonville (SC), 800m; Will Sumner, Woodstock (GA), 800m; Gabe Scales, Huntsville (AL), 800m; Will Jefferson, Whiteland Community (IN); Nathan Walker, Fremont (MI), 3,200m; Graham Tuohy-Gaydos, Green Mountain (CO); Reuben Reina, Har-Ber (AR), 3,200m; Coleman Cronk, Lakota West (OH); Christian Balcer, East Central (MS).
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Parker Wolfe, Cherry Creek (CO)
Class of 2021, UNC signee
Let's be honest.
We're here to see what the Colorado superstar, and the reigning Gatorade National Cross Country Player of the Year, can do on the track on Friday in the 3,200m.
He's been scooping up Colorado-based honors since May: Like his 1,600m soil record in 4:06.17 -- before it was later broken -- and then his 3,200m soil record of 8:55.94 a week later, coming at 5,400 feet of elevation.
In March, we saw Wolfe put down a top 20 all-time effort at 5K: The future Tar Heel went 14:06.48 at the Texas Distance Festival.
On Friday, he'll lace up again with hopes of setting a new US No. 1 at the distance -- possibly, even going under 8:40 for the first time since German Fernandez did the same in 2008.
Because Wolfe hasn't raced often in 2021, it will make his performance all that more interesting.
But if there's anyone capable of breaking a national record this weekend, Wolfe wouldn't be a bad bet to make.
With the Colorado State Outdoor Championships still in the near future, his future chance at knocking down some career best walls will come this weekend in Alabama.
Don't miss his race on Friday -- we sure won't.
Sam Rich, Catawba Ridge (SC)
Class of 2022
Rich has been simply fantastic across the 2021 calendar year.
He won 12 of 13 races across the 800m, 1,600m, mile and 3,200m distances in South Carolina this outdoor season, including two big wins at the SCHSL Class 4A state championships in May, where he went 4:10.53 and 9:19.67, respectively.
Furthermore, Rich claimed two incredibly impressive wins indoors at two miles, claiming victories at both The VA Showcase and adidas Indoor Nationals just a month apart, with a personal best 8:58.15 at nationals ultimately signaling that winning effort.
What's that all mean?
Rich has proven chops racing high-level races against legitimate competition. He enters the 3,200m on Friday as the top seed alongside Parker Wolfe with an 8:55 seed time, while he's one of nine athletes who are looking to go under 4:10 in the fast section of the 1,600m on Saturday.
Rich finished 23rd at the RunningLane National Cross Country Championships in November, while Wolfe won that event.
But seven months removed from that outing, the situation is starkly different.
After all, anything can happen on the track.
Brayden Packard, American Fork (UT)
Class of 2021, BYU signee
The mission is simple for Packard and Co. in the 800m: They're entered to see if they can drop a sub-1:50.
Packard in particular, though, may have the best shot.
The American Fork senior and BYU signee has pocketed four performances under 1:54 and two under 1:52, including his career best 1:51.23 in April at the Alpha Invitational. He followed it up a month later with another 1:51.70 at the BYU Invitational.
And then he finished third at the Utah State Championships in 1:52.81 -- though West Jordan's Austin Klingler and Corner Canyon's Jake Orr were worthy adversaries in that Class 6A race.
Here, Packard will have to contend with talented Vestavia Hills sophomore Alex Leath, who went 1:52.72 indoors and 1:53 outdoors.
Packard seems to have more leg speed, with a fast 49.48 open 400m on his resume, along with a 4:12.88 mile.
But if he doesn't keep track of Leath, or South Carolina native Saxon Brown, for that matter, he could have some problems.
Miles Ally, Nashville Martin Luther King (TN)
Class of 2021, NC State signee
The fast-rising prospect out of Tennessee enters with the top seed time in the boys mile at 4:04.
His career best at the distance outdoors, though, came in June when he put down a time of 4:06.42 at the Festival of Miles in St. Louis to win the field. Just three days later, he dropped a 4:06.68 at the Music City Track Carnival, nearly upsetting another national-level field.
Ally is finally getting his chance to show his chops.
But one look at his resume shows the kind of speed he can offer in the final two laps.
Ally's last two races at 800m have both been under 1:54, with a career best time of 1:52.70 at his Section Championships. The future Wolfpack runner also broke 9 minutes for 3,200m in April, going 8:56.29 at the Great Eight Invitational.
Foster Wilfong, Boerne Champion (TX)
Class of 2021, Furman signee
We're going to take a flier here on Wilfong, who's looking to double up in both the 3,200m on Friday and the 1,600m on Saturday.
While the future Furman Paladin finished up his regular season in Texas in May, don't be surprised if he throws down some wicked fast performances over the weekend in Alabama.
And here's why: If you've ever gotten the chance to see Wilfong roll in top form, you've seen what the Texan is capable of. He's never afraid of his competition.
That's the kind of characteristic that often keeps you in races, even when the pace starts to drop considerably.
But one look at Wilfong's resume will tell you he's got the potential to put down a potential sub-4:10 and a sub-9.
He owns outdoor personal best times of 4:13.72 and 9:09.68, though at the Texas UIL Class 5A Championships he focused more on the race than the time. He finished third and second at those distances, respectively, in May. Wilfong is among six athletes seeded between 4:10-4:11 who are looking to dip under that mark -- six others are under 4:10 overall.