Men’s Cross Country – HPU’s Szalai Named Big South Runner of the Week

High Point University freshman Benji Szalai was named Big South Runner of the Week, the conference announced on Wednesday. Szalai was HPU’s top finisher in the Charlotte Invitational last Friday.

In his collegiate debut, Szalai finished seventh overall and was the sixth collegiate finisher out of 244 runners at the Charlotte Invitational. He completed the 8,000-meter course in 24:34.89. It was his first time running that distance in a cross country race.

As a team, High Point placed fifth out of 35 teams at the Charlotte Invitational. The Panthers beat all five Big South opponents which competed in the race.

Originally from Papa, Hungary, Szalai joined HPU after winning four Hungarian junior national championships. He came to High Point with track & field bests of 3:51.91 in the 1,500-meter, 8:56.51 in the steeplechase, 14:17.55 in the 5,000-meter and 31:50:47 in the 10,000-meter.

Szalai and the Panthers will compete against some of the nation’s best at the Chile Pepper Festival hosted by the University of Arkansas on Saturday, Oct. 13. Those who don’t compete in Arkansas will race at the Blue Ridge Open on Oct. 12. The Big South Championship is set for Oct. 27 in Rock Hill, S.C.