HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University men’s cross country team will have seven additions for the 2012 season, head coach Mike Esposito announced on Tuesday. The seven runners, who will also compete in track & field, will join 10 returners from last year’s Big South runner-up squad.
“We’re adding a lot of depth in cross country, including a few runners who can make an impact and contend for Big South Freshman of the Year this fall,” said Esposito. “I like the backgrounds of all of these runners – they come from successful programs – and we have some steeplechasers coming in. With six of our top seven from last fall returning plus these seven runners, we can take another big step forward in cross country.”
Paddy Grandinali joins the Panthers from Warwick, N.Y., where he competed for Warwick Valley High School. Grandinali specializes in the steeplechase and set a career best of 6:02.90 in that event at the Warwick Friends meet last weekend. He also boasts career bests of 4:23.71 in the 1,600-meter, 9:16.80 in the 3,200-meter and 15:13.64 in the 5,000-meter. In cross country, Grandinali won Orange County and New York Section 9 individual titles and earned All-State honors.
Kevin Kreider is from Huntington, N.Y., and competes in cross country and track & field for St. Anthony’s High School. He earned All-America honors in 2011 and 2012 as part of St. Anthony’s 4-by-mile relay team. He recently ran a career-best 1:55.30 to place fourth in the 800-meter at the St. Anthony’s Invitational and also has career bests of 4:23.62 in the 1,600-meter and 9:51.19 in the 3,200-meter. In cross country, he was a member of the fourth-place team at the Nike Cross Regional Qualifier.
Out of Guilford, Conn., and Guilford High School, the Panthers add Kevin Maguire. He was a three-time All-State selection in cross country and helped his team to a runner-up finish in the state championship his junior year. On the track, Maguire won the 1,600-meter at the CIAC Class M Championship with a time of 4:32.84 and has a career-best of 1:56.28 in the 800-meter. He also played baseball and basketball.
Ben Robinson joins the Panthers out of Tunkhannock, Pa., and was high school teammates with rising sophomore Reece Ayers. Robinson recently ran a career-best 4:20.66 to place third in the 1,600-meter at the Puma/Henderson Track & Field Invitational and ran a PR of 9:37.13 in the 3,200-meter the week before. In cross country, Robinson helped his team to two PIAA District 2 titles and placed in the top 10 as an individual in each of his last two seasons.
HPU adds Cody Seymour out of Bent Mountain, Va., and Cave Spring High School. Seymour is a three-time All-State selection in cross country and was state champ in the indoor 3,200-meter in 2012. He placed 11th in the 5,000-meter at the New Balance Indoor Nationals with a time of 15:08.19 in 2012. At the beginning of May, Seymour ran a career-best 4:21.24 to win the 1,600-meter at the Patriot Distance Carnival and he ran a career-best 9:24.61 in the 3,200-meter last season.
Incoming freshman Benji Szalai is a four-time Hungarian Junior National Champion. He hails from Papa, Hungary, and attended Albert Vetesi High School. He placed third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the senior national championship last year after winning the junior national title in that event. He was also junior national champ in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter and won the junior national cross country championship in 2011. He has career bests of 3:51.91 in the 1,500-meter, 8:56.51 in the steeplechase, 14:47.37 in the 5,000-meter and 31:50.47 in the 10,000-meter.
Finally, the Panthers will add Eddie Whitlock out of St. Christopher’s School in Virginia. During the 2012 indoor season, he won the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter at the Virginia Independent Schools Championship, setting a career-best 9:39.96 in the 3,200-meter. A week later, he won the Prep League/LIS title in the 1,600-meter in a career-best 4:21.00.
High Point University will also announce the additions of 12 more men’s track & field athletes along with the eight newcomers who will compete in cross country.
High Point was runner up at the 2011 Big South Championship and returns 10 of 13 runners from last season’s roster, including All-Conference honorees Jacob Smith and Patrick Crawford. The Panthers open the 2012 season on Sept. 7 at the Covered Bridge Open in Boone, N.C.
2012 HPU Men's Cross Country/Distance Recruits Name Hometown High School Paddy Grandinali Warwick, N.Y. Warwick Valley Kevin Kreider Huntington, N.Y. St. Anthony's Kevin Maguire Guilford, Conn. Guilford Ben Robinson Tunkhannock, Pa. Tunkhannock Cody Seymour Bent Mountain, Va. Cave Spring Benji Szalai Papa, Hungary Albert Vetesi Eddie Whitlock Richmond, Va. St. Christopher's