The High Point University men’s and women’s cross country and track & field program has three staff promotions, head coach Mike Esposito announced on Tuesday. Jenna Wrieden has been elevated to head women’s cross country coach, Eric Dudley has been named associate head coach of track & field and Amber Larsen has been elevated to full-time assistant coach.
“We are ecstatic to hire Coach Larsen, who brings a background of success in the hurdles,” said Esposito. “This addition will help us immensely as we continue to build a more well-rounded track & field program. I’m very pleased to be able to elevate both Coach Dudley and Coach Wrieden. They have both earned these promotions through hard work and loyalty to the program.”
As head women’s cross country coach, Wrieden will oversee all training and recruiting for women’s cross country and distance running. Wrieden helped lead High Point University to a historic season last fall as the women’s cross country team won its first-ever Big South Championship. The Panthers placed five runners in the top 10 at the Big South Championship and four of those runners return for this fall. In addition, HPU brought in eight recruits for women’s cross country this season.
Dudley oversees most of High Point University’s field event training and has led the Panthers to significant improvements over the past four seasons. Under Dudley’s guidance, the Panthers have broken school records in five women’s field events and four men’s field events. TJ Brancaccio won the pole vault at the 2011 Big South Indoor Championship and Christina Fenske set the Big South record and was two-time conference champion in the high jump. Freshman Christian Spaulding placed 20th in the NCAA Preliminary in the javelin in 2012.
Larsen was elevated from part-time assistant coach to full-time assistant coach for 2012-13 and she will oversee High Point University’s hurdlers, long jumpers and triple jumpers. A former NCAA Div. III champion in the 400-meter hurdles, Larsen spent six seasons as assistant coach at Wake Forest before coming to High Point. She helped lead 14 Wake Forest athletes to NCAA Regional berths, including Michelle Loyd, Caroline Vaughn and Alex Gove, who qualified for the NCAA Championship. Larsen also coached two men’s 4×400 relay teams to NCAA Championship appearances.
Along with the Big South title in women’s cross country last fall, High Point was runner-up in the men’s cross country championship for the fifth season in a row and returns four of its top five runners from that meet. The Panthers placed third at the Big South Outdoor Championship in 2012, the team’s highest finish since 2003.