Riverside's 5th Team Title, Four-Year Record Falls

It's a high-five for Riverside.

The defending state runner-up defeated last year's Class 5A champion Dorman 67-100 to claim its fifth straight International girls team championship at the Eye Opener on Saturday at the Roger Milliken Center in Spartanburg.

It was Riverside's seventh team championship in meet history. The previous two came in back-to-back years in 1997 and '98. 

J.L. Mann placed third (102), followed by Science Hill (Tenn.) (105) and Seneca (128).

"Last year's state meet kind of lit a fire under them after losing the first one in six years," Riverside coach Eric Cummings said. "They're focused, and they're determined. We'll race our full varsity team at Wendy's. It will be the first time all year that we've had all seven girls at the same time."

Cummings added that the Eye Opener is a preview of fierce competition faced this year.

"Teams will be very strong when we get to state," he said. "Dorman's going to be tough. They're missing girls today because of the ACT (test), also. It's going to be a battle."

Riverside was led by senior Jessie Crowley, who finished third with a time of 19:01. Elizabeth Rogers, a sophomore, was fifth (19:31.2).

Dorman was led by senior Page Dickey, who placed eighth (19:51.7) and senior Katerina Hendrix, who placed 11th at 20:15.3.

A four-year record fell by nearly a full minute as Science Hill sophomore Jenna Hutchins won by setting a personal record with a time of 17:14.1. The previous record was held by former Spartanburg Christian Academy standout and current Clemson senior Logan Morris, who posted a time of 18:12 in 2015. 

Hutchins downed St. Joseph's senior Ava Dobson, who finished with a time of 17:40.8. J.L. Mann freshman Kennedy Roush was fourth (19:27).

Hutchins said that winning the Eye Opener was a strong start after qualifying for the Foot Locker Nationals last year (Watch 2018 Foot Locker South interview).

Interview with Science Hill coach David Nutter

"It's great to be able to represent Tennessee like that to know I'm up there at the top," she said. "I want to continue to have a great season. I knew there was going to be a lot of teams here, and I knew there would be a lot of other great runners, so I was glad to come out and do really well."

In the Championship race, Fort Mill edged Waccamaw 272-273 to win the team title. Charlotte Country Day (N.C.) placed third (282), followed by River Bluff (291) and Greer Middle College (328).

Charlotte Country Day senior Sophie Spada won individual medalist with a time of 18:56.1, a personal best on her birthday. Landrum senior Alexus Atkins (pre-meet interview with Atkins) was second (19:05.6), followed by Morristown-West (Tenn.) sophomore Julianne Dodson (19:08.1), Mauldin senior Macey Morgan (19:36.9) and Walhalla junior Emily Arenas (19:43.3).