4 Underrated Athletes That Could Win The Southern Showcase

* Miles Brush (right) ran at the 2020 version of The Southern Showcase

Photo Credit: Alabama Runners

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We've been talking a lot about the favorites heading into The Southern Showcase lately. 

But what about the under the radar athletes? 

Both the girls and boys elite races are far deeper than just the top two runners, and so in this space we're going to offer some predictions as to who might make major statements on Saturday at John Hunt Park. 

And make sure to watch The Southern Showcase on September 17-18 on MileSplit. We'll have a finish line camera along with a cart cam, to go along with interviews, pictures and stories from the competition. 

Related Links:

The Five Big Storylines Heading Into The Southern Showcase

For The Record: Sam Rich Is Ready For A Competitive Year

On The Line: Previewing The Southern Showcase

Miles Brush, Chelsea (AL)

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Class of 2022

Brush has some serious credentials. The high school senior residing just south of Birmingham is Alabama's returning Class 6A champion in cross country, with a 5K best of 14:51.46. 

It should be said that while Catawba Ridge's Sam Rich has a huge upside on Saturday and enters as the favorite in this race, Brush actually upended the South Carolina champion at the RunningLane National Cross Country Championships on this very course last November, finishing just a few spots ahead of him. 

Looking at cross country results, you often want to look at consistency.

What are an athlete's best times outside of their personal best marks? 

For Brush, he produced three more efforts under 15:30 in 2020, including his AHSAA state title in 15:21.41 and a mark of 15:17.91 last September in this very meet. He finished fifth in that race. 

Can Brush grab a win on Saturday? No one is doubting he has the potential to do so. 

Dinah Winders, Henry County (TN)

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Class of 2022

We've been watching the exploits of the Winders for upwards of five years now. 

Before Dinah, her older brother Titus Winders was a Foot Locker Nationals qualifier and a state cross country champion in Tennessee. Then there was Silas, who qualified for two more Foot Locker Nationals races and won his own Tennessee state XC title in 2019.

Dinah is coursing her own path for Henry County (TN) High School. 

But if all of that wasn't enough evidence, the pure fact is that Winders has all the talent in the world to win any race she's entered in. She won five races a year ago, but did not get a chance to add to the family legacy and compete for a chance to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals, much like her brothers.

Her last chance is this year. Winders ran a career best time of 17:45.77 all the way back in 2019, but Saturday's event will offer her a great opportunity to chase after it and compete for an invitational title alongside Crawford West and Abby Faith Cheeseman. 

Justin Wilson, Satellite (FL)

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Class of 2022

Wilson is picking up where his Class of 2020 teammates Gabriel Montague and Joe Wester left off, as he has moved into the No. 1 role for Satellite and has begun the season on a flurry of good moves. 

He won his opening race at the Wickham Jamboree on Aug. 14 before moving on to the Cecil Field Summer Classic, where he finished fifth overall behind a handful of Florida's elite. 

Wilson is right among the likes of Michael Toppi, Patrick Koon, Matthew Stratton and Nick Carpenter, too. 

On Saturday, he could make a huge statement with a big performance at John Hunt Park.

He owns a personal 5K best of 15:02.65 -- from Satellite's final NXV performance -- and dropped a 15:44.00 in late August in Jacksonville. 

Mia Robillard, Centerville (OH)

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Class of 2023

The number two has stood out for Robillard a lot over the first month of cross country. 

She was second at the OHSAA Early Season Invite on Aug. 21, and then second again at the Marion Invitational on Sept. 4 in Indiana. 

Robillard is No. 2 in the state of Ohio currently for 5K times, owning a career best 17:48.80. 

But here's where things start to flip in her favor. 

Mia was the first Ohio athlete to finish in that ridiculously talented race in Indiana. And Robillard currently has the two fastest speed ratings for any Ohio girl, posting marks of 129 and 133 from those two races. 

Crawford West opened with a 136 last week. Abby Faith Cheeseman has yet to be speed rated in 2021. 

So the point being? Robillard is one of those athletes who could certainly make a big move at The Southern Showcase, even surprising with a win. When you travel out of state to race, there's nothing more important than giving your best on that day, and there's little doubting Robillard will perform at a very high level.