Coen Roberts Breaks 12-Year Record at Eye Opener

Coen Roberts did it again.

This time, he just did it better.

The Greer High senior broke the course record with a time of 15:19.9 to capture his second straight victory in the International boys 5K race at the Eye Opener on Saturday at the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg. Roberts shattered last year's winning time of 15:46. The previous record was 15:24 set by Ryan Hill of Hickory (N.C.) in 2007. 

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Roberts defeated Christ School senior Andrew Hammel, who finished at 15:51.3. Greer senior Micah Gilpatrick placed third (15:56.5), Eastside junior Spain Vaughan was fourth (16:04.9) and Pendleton sophomore Ronan O'Neill placed fifth (16:05.8).

"Last year I opened about 30 seconds slower here," Roberts said. "I didn't find out until track season that I had a pretty severe iron deficiency affecting my races. I got that under control, put in a solid training block this summer, and I knew I was ready to come out and kill it."

Roberts said that breaking the record gets his senior season off on the right foot.

"It really just sets the tone," he said. "I accomplished more than I hoped I would. All I wanted to do was come out and get the course record today, and I got it."

Roberts had previously posted the 12th-best time in meet history with last year's win. 

"It's really amazing especially running against so many fast guys and come out with a win, especially breaking the course record of someone as legendary as Ryan Hill. I'm looking forward to more competition. I feel like last year no one really knew who I was, and I'm hoping to change that this year."

Class 5A defending state champion Dorman defeated T.L. Hanna 130-134 in the team standings. It was the first time that the Cavaliers had won the Eye Opener since 2009

Eastside (156) was third, followed by Christ School (211) and Wando (217).

"It's a great start," Dorman coach Jeff Buys said. "I'm really happy. We ran well a couple of weeks ago up in North Carolina and then to come back and do this today, and all the boys ran well, and I'm super excited for our team."

The Cavaliers were led by senior Jackson Reid, who finished ninth with a time of 16:17.9. A pair of seniors, Eddie Urban and Carter Sexton, placed 12th and 19th for Dorman.

"We really focus on the big meets like region, county, upper state and state," Reid said. "That's all we're really concerned with. To get a win here is a big deal... We had a really hard week of training and really been hitting it hard the past couple of weeks. We haven't had a down week in awhile."

In the Championship race, R-S Central (N.C.) junior Christopher Upton won with a time of 16:01.8. He was followed by Philip Simmons junior Noah Ward (16:13.2). 

Greer Middle College downed Morristown-West (Tenn.) 160-187 to win the team title. Heathwood Hall (189) was third, followed by Southside (229) and Enka (N.C.) (236).