Eye Opener: North Carolina vs. South Carolina?

The 2017 Eye Opener in Spartanburg serves an early season opportunity for 2,752 runners from 81 schools throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Virtual meets: Girls | Boys

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Tell us: What Eye Opener race will be most competitive?

The Girls Race

Ava Dobson of St. Joseph's is the top ranked runner going into the meet with a 18:25 personal best set last weekend at the Fight Like Wyatt Invitational. Dobson previously played soccer (Watch interview). Riverside's Jessie Crowley (second at Fight Like Wyatt), with experience of the Milliken course and leading the Warriors (the team favorite) will be in the front pack. North Carolina's Alexis McDonnell and Bella Zimmerman (Hough) kicked off their junior years with massive personal bests at the Providence Invitational last weekend running 18:52 and 19:10. Both never broke 20 minutes until last week. 

Don't count out Ava Findlay (Brevard, N.C.) who has a cross country best of 18:55 and was fourth at the NCHSAA Class AA State Championships last fall.  Findlay led her Brevard teammates to a fifth place finish over a stacked field at the WNC Carnival last weekend. 

Riverside girls are the team favorites. North Carolina's Charlotte Catholic and Hough come into the season ranked 16th and 22nd in NCRunners Flo50 Preseason Girls Team Rankings and will be looking to upset South Carolina's finest Riverside.

The Boys Race

Will this be the race between North and South Carolina? South Carolina's Noah White (Eastside), Wynn Johnson (Dorman), and Kade Gosnell (Boiling Springs) have all run under 16:30 this year. Johnson missed last season due to injury. Haven Honeycutt (Asheville) will make his season debut and comes in with a personal best of 15:55.  Honeycutt proved on the track that he's much better than his best and comes in ranked sixth in North Carolina's preseason XC rankings.  He was the NCHSAA Class AAAA 1600 State Champion and Bojangles Classic 3200 Champion running personal bests of 4:19 and 9:18. 

The team title is up for grabs between several teams. Riverside boys have not competed their top runners this season.  



6:30 p.m.         Collegiate Women                   no limit

7:10 p.m.         Collegiate Men                         no limit



8 a.m.         International Girls                  limit 14

8:30 a.m.    International Boys                 limit 14

9 a.m.         Championship Girls                limit 10

9:30 a.m.    Championship Boys                limit 10

10 a.m.       Junior Varsity Girls                  no limit

10:30 a.m.  Junior Varsity Boys                 no limit

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NCRunners editor Jason Creasy contributed to this preview.