This is just year two of the Vandegrift Viper Distance Festival, but the meet already has more than doubled it's size.
What will that produce? Well, we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but today we see who to watch out for.
Girls Elite 1600m
The girls Elite 1600m will have one of the top runners in the nation make her outdoor debut. Marble Falls' Bailey Goggans has been racing indoors against both high school and college competition.
This weekend, she'll race in the 1600m and we'll see if she can challenge the TX #1 mark of 4:50.77 by Brynn Brown of Denton Guyer.
Goggans ran a 4:53.73 indoors in the 1 mile. We'll see if she can deal with the elements of running outdoors to run a fast time this weekend. If she can take advantage of the great environment and the benefit of running on the bigger and longer track, we might see a new state leading mark.
Challengers in the 1600m will be none other than a duo of Austin Vandegrift runners. Lady Vipers Gemma Goddard and Erin Donohue will be charged with giving Goggans a run for her money. Goddard has some very impressive marks on the outdoor season in both the 1600m and the 3200m as she has already produced a 5:07.54 and a 11:07.56.
Girls Elite 3200m
Last year, Vandgrift's Jordan Mathis won this event in a meet record 10:48.75. She returns to add another Viper Distance Festival win and lower her meet record.
It will definitely take another sub 11:00 to win and the girls to push her are in the race.
The Woodlands Christian senior Ellie Catron will surely look to drop a sub 11:00. She dropped a PR 11:10.95 two weeks ago and getting into the 10s would be a good accomplishment this early into the season and gunning for a win has to be in the plans.
Jordan won't be the only Mathis in the race looking for the win. Sophomore Taylor has some good runs on the season including an 11:15.35 on the season and will be in contention for a PR and potentially the win.
A talented duo of Cedar Park runners will also be looking for the win in this race. Both Kaitlyn Childress and Gracie Hall have competed in a range of events from the 800m to the 3200m this season. Childress has a 11:10.54 and Hall has a 11:21.34. Both girls are some of UIL 5As top runners and will help push the pace in this event.
Boys Elite 3200m
This race will be the highlight of the meet. It will have some of Texas best distance runners, and it will also create a national level buzz.
Austin Vandegrift senior Anthony Monte will host a group of top distance runners. Personally, he will be in the mix for another Viper Distance Festival win on his home track. His 9:23.14 SB shows he is in shape to help pace the race.
Monte has proven his big race ability with his Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) experiences and finishes. Last year, he finished 26th at the cross country championship race and this past December, he ran to an All-American finish with his 12th place finish.
Adding to the race will be fellow 2019 NXN qualifiers Abraham Avila-Martinez (Austin San Juan Diego) and Ben Shearer (The Woodlands Christian). These two TAPPS All-Star runners have also dropped quality times this season; Avila-Martinez has a 3200m SB with his 9:21.94. Their national level experience could help earn one of them the win, but at the least it will ensure we see another outstanding Viper Distance Festival Boys 3200m race.
Also in the race will be the 2019 SPC state cross country champion, Julian Baeza (Austin St. Stephens) and Cedar Park junior Jack Woods. Baeza will make his season debut in the 3200m and Woods has already dropped a 9:28.39 this year.
It will take a sub 9:10 to win the race this weekend. If the guys push it and race together, we could see a sub 9:00 race.