Selena Popp peaking for pentathlon

Selena Popp peaking for pentathlon

May 20th, 2013 by Stephen Hargis in Sportsspringfling

Baylor's Selena Popp will will be vying for a state title today in the pentathlon today as Spring Fling begins in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

Spring Fling schedule

Tuesday, May 21

Baseball

Silverdale Baptist vs. Rockwood at Middle Tennessee Christian, 5

Soccer

At Richard Siegel Soccer Complex

Notre Dame vs. White House, Field 3, 5:30

East Hamilton vs. CPA, Field 5, 8:30

Softball

At MnKnight Fields and Starplex

Whitwell vs. Forrest, 7

Meigs County vs. Unicoi County, 7

East Hamilton vs. Chester County, 7

Soddy-Daisy/Smyrna winner vs. Maryville, 5

GPS vs. Pope John Paul II, 5

Baylor vs. St. Benedict at Starplex, 5

Tennis

Tennis Schedule (to add to Stephen's advance)

State Semifinal Matchups (all times Eastern)

Division II-AA Boys

McCallie vs. Memphis University School, 10 a.m.

Baylor vs. Montgomery Bell Academy, 10 a.m.

Division II-AA Girls

GPS vs. Hutchison, noon

Baylor vs. Harpeth Hall, noon

Class A/AA Boys

Notre Dame vs. Christian Academy of Knoxville, 2

Class A/AA Girls

Chattanooga Christian vs. Christian Academy of Knoxville, 4

Track

Boys' decathlon, second day, 10 a.m.

Wednesday, May 22

Soccer

Baylor vs. MBA, Field 1, 8

So much for easing into the Spring Fling.

The most grueling events of this week's five-sport state tournament will be held today as the girls' track & field pentathlon and the first half of the boys' decathlon gets under way. The final five events of the decathlon will conclude tomorrow, all at Middle Tennessee State University.

Baylor sophomore Selena Popp enters the day's competition with the best shot at claiming a state championship, along with teammate Victoria Wicks. Popp is the highest scoring qualifier in Division II, scoring 3,148 points at the region level and Wicks finished with 2,903. Their toughest competition will likely come from Evangelical Christian School's Kate Jamison, who qualified with 3,025 points.

"We've got a shot to maybe win it with either of those two," Baylor coach Bill McMahan said. "Anytime you have such a tough competition, with so many events, all in one day, you just never know who will step up. One thing's for sure, at least we should be up there in points right off the bat by having multiple qualifiers.

Baylor's Kate Kaufman was also an at-large qualifier in D-II and other area athletes who qualified for today's pentathlon are Tyner's Vivian Smith in Class A/AA and Cleveland's Marissa Langford and Soddy-Daisy's Emily Bryan in AAA. Area decathlon qualifiers are Chattanooga Christian's Brandt McGregor (A/AA), Cleveland's Isaiah Beaty (AAA) and Baylor's Joey Rogers and Landry Taylor and McCallie's Aaron Dunn, all in D-II.

All other girls' state track events will be held Thursday and the boys' state meet will be Friday, all at MTSU.

"Those girls are really versatile, and that's what it takes," McMahan said. "It will be a good experience for Kate, but this is her first time to get there and that's tough on anybody.

"That's the biggest plus for Selena, having a couple of years experience under her belt. She's been there twice before already, so she knows what to expect and how tough a day it is. What makes her so good is she's strong in about every event. She knows what it takes to finish strong and I'm sure the way she competed last year will give her confidence."

As a freshman last year, Popp finished second to GPS' Tori Kemp. She turned in personal-best times in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles last week and will also compete in the triple jump, high jump and both hurdles events. Wicks will also compete in both hurdles events and the 4x400 relay and Kaufman is a favorite in the pole vault.

"It's always a really long, draining day," Popp said. "But it gets me excited since I've been there and know what to expect, especially after finishing second last year. That last event, the 800-meter run is the one that just wipes me out.

"Coach McMahan has been sticking us in a lot of events lately to get us ready for running in so many events in one day. For the team, it will be good to know we're going into Thursday's meet already having points on the other teams. It could give us a lot of confidence."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293.