The 2017 installment of the Great Meadow Invite should actually be a great preview for many of the teams and athletes of the season. Unlike last year when it was scorching hot this year should be mild and dry enough for some stellar times on the non-state course and a preview of things to come.
First on the girls' side will be now 6A powerhouse George C. Marshall and Heather Holt but aside from them there will be tough competition from Riverbend, Tuscarora, and a not fully loaded squad from Loudoun Valley.
Individually Ava Hassebrock will pose the largest threat to Holt with Lydia Goetz, Ava Bir, and Bethany Graham all also challenging.
On the boys' side it will be a different story with Loudoun Valley's top group training through the weekend. In their absence Phillip Lambert and Ben Nibbelink will likely lead the way. A somewhat dark-horse though to watch will be 1A state champion William Miller of James River. He enters the meet ranked 7th but is only a sophomore yet boasts a 16:11 best on the Great Meadow course.
In the team scheme of things it will be especially close without Loudoun Valley's team running at full strength. 5A rising powerhouse Freedom (South Riding) looks to be seizing the moment and enters the meet as strong favorites. Patriot, J.E.B. Stuart, Riverbend, and Fauquier all will give some serious chase.