MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Junior Jacob Smith won the 3,000-meter steeplechase and HPU scored 21 points in that event to lead the High Point University men’s track & field team in the second day of the Big South Outdoor Championship on Friday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Through seven events, HPU ranked third with 37 points.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better day on the men’s side with everyone advancing, Tristan Faure’s performance in the decathlon and all four of our guys in the steeplechase,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “We’ve got somebody in every event on the track except the 400 hurdles tomorrow, including three qualifiers in the 1,500. We just need to perform tomorrow like we did today.”
Smith and Liberty’s Josh MacDonald battled throughout the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Smith pulled away on the last lap to finish in 8:54.56. Sophomore Patrick Crawford finished a convincing third in 9:05.99 and junior Dakota Peachee placed fifth in 9:16.64. Freshman Chris Colo, running just his second steeplechase ever, placed eighth to score a point with a time of 9:36.08.
“The steeplechase is our event and Jacob is getting so confident,” said Esposito. “Patrick ran awesome and Dakota is getting back where he needs to be. Chris Colo got us a nice point to top it off.”
Sophomore Tristan Faure finished third in the decathlon with an HPU-record score of 6,633 points. He finished just behind VMI’s Antonio Wood, who scored 6,672. Liberty’s Jacob DeValve won the event with a score of 6,904. Faure was in the lead after starting the day with a career-best time of 15.43 in the 110-meter hurdles to win his heat. He fell behind after the discus but rallied with a career-best height of 3.65 meters (11-11.75) in the pole vault, a career-best 44.91 meters (147-4) in the javelin and a 20-second victory in the 1,500-meter (4:32.09).
“Tristan had a tremendous day and got his career best by 600 points,” said Esposito. “He struggled in the discus but put it behind him and came back with great performances in the last three events.”
In the preliminaries, sophomore Evan Emery led the Panthers by qualifying for finals in both the 100-meter and 200-meter. He won his heat of the 100 with a time of 10.61 and was second in his heat of the 200 with a mark of 21.19. Sophomore Ryan Venable qualified for the finals of the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.89. Senior Alex Fisher’s preliminary will be rerun on Saturday morning due to an officiating error. Freshman Justin Doehr placed second in his heat of the 400-meter and qualified for the final with his time of 48.71.
High Point had three qualifiers in the 1,500-meter: senior Jevin Monds, freshman Jeff LaCoste and Peachee. Monds led nearly the entire way and won his heat with a time of 3:56.53, the fastest mark of the day. Peachee fell behind in that heat but qualified with his time of 3:59.83. LaCoste pushed the pace on the second lap of his preliminary and hung on to qualify with a second-place finish in a season-best 3:57.30.
In the 800-meter, freshman Chris Muggler was runner-up in his preliminary with a time of 1:54.77 to qualify for Saturday’s final. Freshman Michael Colven, senior Seth Harwood and freshman Evan Gingrich just missed qualifying for the finals.
Through seven events, Liberty leads the meet with 90.5 points followed by Coastal Carolina (52) and High Point (37). Gardner-Webb ranks fourth with 26 points followed by VMI (25), Winthrop (16.5) and Charleston Southern (13). Campbell ranks eighth with six points followed by UNC Asheville (five) and Radford (two).
The Big South Championship resumes on Saturday at 10 a.m. The HPU men’s track team’s first event will be the 4×100 relay at 12:30 p.m. and the meet concludes with the 4×400 relay at 4:45 p.m.