GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Furman men's and women's cross country teams will open the 2017 season Friday at the Eye Opener Invitational at the Milliken Research Center in Spartanburg, S.C. The Paladins won both meets last year, with the men scoring 15 points for the victory and the Furman women tallying 16 points in the win.
The meet will begin with a women's 5K run at 6:30 p.m. followed by a men's 8K race at 7:10 p.m.
The Furman men, who are ranked 17th nationally and are the top-ranked team in the Southeast Region, are four-time defending Southern Conference Champions and return the top seven runners from last season's team, plus seniors Troy Reeder, Tanner Hinkle, and Aaron Templeton, who redshirted last year. Senior Frank Lara, the 2016 SoCon Runner of the Year, returns after advancing to the 2016 NCAA Championships as an individual. Lara, along with senior Josh Brickell and sophomore Ryan Adams were named to the All-Southeast Region team.
The Furman women's team, ranked 34th nationally and third in the Southeast Region, is also the four-time defending league champion. The Paladins return six of their top seven competitors from 2016, plus senior Allie Buchalski, who redshirted last season. Buchalski, who earned her second-consecutive SoCon Women's Cross Country Runner of the year award in 2015, became the program's first All-American after finishing seventh at the 2015 NCAA Championships, the highest finish ever by a Furman athlete at the national meet. Sophomore Savannah Carnahan, the 2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year, was named to the 2016 all-region team along with sophomore Emma Grace Hurley.
"We will be resting several athletes who competed rather late into the spring and summer, but we are excited to preview the SoCon Championship course," said Furman head cross country coach Robert Gary, who has captured the last four SoCon Coach of the Year awards.
Complete results can be found at www.furmanpaladins.com following the completion of the meet.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information