Outside of the state championships, the Eastern Relays is the premier meet in Kentucky over the regular season.
Athletes from Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, and a few more states will travel to Louisville for some big efforts under the lights. You can watch it all LIVE on MileSplit starting at 4:30 ET on Friday.
Check out our predictions and analysis of the best races heading into Friday night's action.
Breakdown: Vaught is the man to beat in Kentucky, and if Jackson wants to earn his first state title in May, he'll have to go through Vaught. So this will be an important race for Jackson, who has an all-conditions best of 10.56 from April and a wind-legal 10.60 (+1.3) on file from 2017. Vaught, Kentucky's defending champion in the 100m and 200m, is still finding his way this season and offered a 10.89-second effort at his most recent meet in Pulaski. The interesting addition here will be Trent, a junior at Gahanna Lincoln (OH) High, who was a runner-up at state last year in Ohio. He's run an all-conditions 10.76 this spring and has an all conditions best of 10.62.
Breakdown: Teammates from Ohio, Martinez, and Deas will be pushing the pace here. But it should be Martinez's race to win. A year ago, she finished second at the state championship in Ohio with a career best 2:08.94, which finished as a US No. 31 time. With Deas in the fold to push her -- she's gone 2:10 -- Martinez could look to topple that former career best at some point. Martinez has run two straight efforts at 2:16 this season thus far.
Breakdown: The twins from Memphis, Tennessee -- who recently signed with Southeast Missouri -- are looking to throw down an effort under 1:52. Colin finished his season in 2017 at the AAU Junior Olympics in 1:52.25, while Keaton followed at the same meet in 1:53.52. Keaton followed in the winter with a career best indoors of 1:52.94, while Colin managed a best of 1:54.50. Can the Jones break past their wall in the 800m? It will take what seems like a herculean effort, but if the conditions are great and the duo runs smartly, it's possible. Franklin, an in-state competitor from Lebanon, enters with a 1:53.25 and Hall is traveling from Illinois and owns a 1:54.73.
Boys One Mile Elite
Breakdown: Schadler, an Indiana University signee and Foot Locker Nationals qualifier in the fall, is legit and has the requisite speed to drop a pretty quality effort here. He's gone 4:13.63 for one mile and was the runner-up in the 1600m in Indiana last spring in 4:13.31. A year stronger and wiser, Schadler could make moves here. A year ago he ran 4:24.49, but expect that time to drop Friday night.
Girls 3200m Elite
Breakdown: It could come down to the two Ohio studs, Gigandet, and Ewert. The pair's career bests are separated by mere hundredths of a second, with Gigandet owning that honor in 10:40.22. But Ewert, the national record holder in the 1-mile race walk, has made huge strides in her sophomore season, dropping over 40 seconds from her PR last season of 11:22.40 in this same race, to 10:40.38 at the indoor state championships in Ohio. If it comes down to a kick, you would think the race walk veteran wouldn't win, but don't be surprised when Ewert drops a hammer.
Boys 3200m Elite
Breakdown: The premier race of the relays, the boys 3200m should be special. A year ago, Horter brushed off the pouring rain to drop his outdoor PR and his first time under nine minutes, winning in a US No. 27 time of 8:56.96. He was one of 39 boys to break nine minutes in 2017, and that list included Fendel, a Colorado signee who's off to a bumpy start in 2018 but went 8:50.56 last year. We also can't forget about two big Ohio talents, Johnson and Kreft, who went 9:08.12 and 9:09.37, respectively, over the indoor season. Those two could certainly vie for a sub-nine effort here. But if there's a favorite, it has to be Horter, who's been nearly unstoppable in big races.
Key Competitors: duPont Manual
Breakdown: The NXN qualifiers are talented and are looking for a big time in the 4x800. Seeded at 9:23, which would put them around US No. 10 territory, the squad certainly has the experience and wherewithal to race well.
Girls Individual To Watch
Name: J'Alyiea Smith
Events: High Jump, 300mH
Breakdown: The Withrow (OH) senior enters with seeds of 5 feet, 9 in the high jump and 42.14 in the 300mH. Outside our top races, she's an athlete to watch who could perform well with the right field around her.
Boys Individual To Watch
Name: Bryan Hudson
Events: Shot put, discus
Breakdown: The favorite in both the throwing events, Hudson will be looking to generate a possible 200-foot throw in the discus and a 65-footer in the shot put.
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