The Bishop England High School cross country teams competed in the recent Eye Opener tournament, which featured 76 teams from universities to high school to junior varsity. Both Bishop teams fared well — the boys placed seventh in their division and the girls claimed the 20th spot.
The boys team — defending Class AAA state champ and currently ranked No. 1 in the state among Class AAA teams — traveled to Spartanburg to compete in the international division and finished seventh as Wade Hampton took first place, Fort Mill was second and Christ School third. The field included the top cross country squads in the state and 20 other schools from around the region.
The Bishops finished as the top AAA school in the meet and as the top team from the Charleston area. Wando finished ninth.
The championship division race had an additional 51 schools and 400 athletes compete. The BE boys team would have won the championship race had they raced in that division.
Justin Hafner led the way for the Bishops with a 10th-place finish in a time of 16:30.7 over the 5,000-meter course, while Hank Linder was 27th in 18:05.5.
James Romano was 40th, Charlie Tessier 53rd and Mac Brahim 77th.
The girls’ team, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the state, continues to improve every race, and the Eye Opener was no exception.
The BE girls competed in the international division race, and finished 20th overall versus the top teams in the state. The girls’ team finished 15th in the international division and 17th out of the 65 teams that competed in the meet. The international division included 212 runners with 560 varsity girls overall.
“The boys’ and girls’ team ran really well at the Eye Opener,” coach Tony Colizzi said. “We ran in the international race against some of the best schools in the state and the boys finished seventh and the girls finished 20th. Those are impressive finishes against nearly 80 teams.”
Colizzi said the girls, from their No. 1 runner to their No. 12 runner, ran well and made huge improvements since the Pinewood Prep run.
Nor Brahim led the Bishops at the Eye Opener with a time of 20:14.9, while Nini Clarke was 65th in 21:34.8. Celia Murphy and Bo Rosate also finished in the top 100.
The BE girls will compete at the Sept. 18 Waccamaw Invitational, which features the host team as the No. 1 Class AAA team in the state.
“This Saturday we will compete at Waccamaw High School against many of the same teams as the Eye Opener,” Colizzi said. “It should be a great meet and the course is a fast course, so we look for some fast times. The girls will get to compete against Waccamaw, the only AAA team that beat them at Eye Opener.”