* Madison Central's Ciara O'Shea is one of the top entrants at the Eastern Relays
Photo Credit: Jennifer Schoenegge/Kentucky MileSplit
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The Eastern Relays, one of Kentucky's premier high school events over the regular season and our National Meet of the Week, is around the corner.
The famed event will host over 2,000 athletes at the University of Louisville and quite a few of them will bring star power to the table.
We've previewed seven athletes we believe could yield some important results over the weekend.
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King Combest, Owensboro (KY), freshman
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Combest's personal best times continue to drop.
In March, the high school freshman ran an all conditions time of 10.64 in the 100m at the Muhlenberg March Madness, which was a significant improvement from his best of 10.88 in 2022 -- although, there was no wind gauge this year.
Still, over his first three races, he's broken 11 seconds all three times.
The 100m at the Eastern Relays, however, will feature some considerable talent: Koy Beasley (10.50), Terhyon Nichols (10.53) and Jackoby Graves (10.74).
Jakoby Graves, Louisville Central (KY), senior
Events: 100m, 200m
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Graves has the talent to win the sprint double here at Eastern Relays. He's seeded fifth in the 100m (10.74) and fourth in the 200m (21.61).
But few athletes on the line this weekend will feature the amount of Graves brings to the table.
Ciara O'Shea, Madison Central (KY), senior
Events: 800m, Mile
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The Queen of Kentucky may be tuning up before The Penn Relays at the end of the month, so expect her to run composed in both the 800m and mile.
That being said, O'Shea will be opening at the distances this weekend, so personal best times could go down just as well. O'Shea owns a PB of 2:18.23 in the 800m from her outdoor season last year and went 4:46 for the full mile.
She'll battle with freshman Addison Moore in both races.
Grayson Brashear, South Oldham (KY), senior
Events: Shot put
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It was just four days ago that Brashear, a University of Kentucky signee, uncorked a career best throw in the ring, marking a distance of 60 feet, 11 inches at the Johnny Con Invitational.
Next up could be an even bigger stage. That performance this week put Brashear inside the top 30 throws nationally, No. 1 in Kentucky and No. 9 all-time in the state.
* Last year's 3,200m at the Eastern Relays
Connor Ackley, Hilliard Davidson (OH), senior
Events: Mile, 3,200m
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The Eastern Relays hold a reputable tradition in the distance events, and this year's version are as good as ever, with Ackley seemingly the favorite heading into the mile and 3,200m.
Ackley, a Notre Dame signee, clocked a time of 9:05.67 last year in the 3,200m. But this weekend will provide a worthy debut for the Ohio-based star.
Just as well, Ackley could incur some damage in the mile, where he logged a career best mile of 4:08.65 in March at New Balance Nationals Indoor.
Of course, there are a few runners to worry about. In the mile, Ackley will face off against Floyd Central's Will Conway, while in the 3,200m he'll see Conway and Knoxville Catholic's Keegan Smith.
Claire Stegall, Nolensville (TN), sophomore
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Stegall is fast becoming one of the nation's top distance talents in her class. She's already blasted off to a career best 2:09.11 in the 800m and 4:42.52 in the 1,600m. This weekend, she'll set her sites on the 3,200m against the likes of Jessica Secor, Ella Johnson and Reagan Gilmore.
Stegall's overall speed, however, should provide ample breathing room.
Lillian Hodge, West Jessamine (KY), senior
Events: High Jump
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Hodge hasn't opened her outdoor season to a flying start, necessarily speaking. But 5 feet and 10 inches is some mark in the high jump, and that's the exact bar she cleared last year at the Eastern Relays.
Hodge, a Harvard signee, will look to equal that mark this weekend, or potentially go over it.