HPU Men’s Track In Second After Day One of the Big South Championships

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The High Point University men’s track and field team finished the first day of the Big South Indoor Championships in second place on Thursday at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Panthers finished the first day with 33.5 points.

“Just about every event went as well as it could have today, if our guys come through tomorrow we’ll have a chance at second,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “We had a lot of energy and we have guys in every race except the 200 on Friday. Kids were getting career bests left and right, freshmen like Adam DeVito getting third in the long jump and Austin Miller getting third in the pole vault. Those points are huge. We just need our guns to come through tomorrow.”

High Point had four runners score in the 3,000-meter run led by freshman Benji Szalai who finished in second with a career-best time of 8:23.91. Junior Patrick Crawford finished just behind Szalai in third with a career-best time of 8:27.57. Sophomore Jeff LaCoste finished sixth with a time of 8:33.88 and freshman Paddy Grandinalifinished in eighth with a career-best time of 8:40.21.

Freshman Adam DeVito earned All-Big South honors in his first conference championship with a third-place finish in the long jump. DeVito cleared a career-best distance of 7.01 meters (23-0) on his third attempt, besting his previous career-long of 6.89 meters.

Freshman Austin Miller set a new personal-best of 4.70 meters (15-5) in the pole vault to tie for third and earn 5.5 points towards the team score. Miller matched the top height cleared by any Big South competitor on the day, but tied for third on total vaults.

Junior Evan Emery won his heat in the 60-meter preliminaries with a season-best time of 6.87 to qualify for Friday’s final. Emery posed the second-fastest qualifying time of the day.

Junior Tristan Faure finished the first day of the heptathlon in second place with a total of 2,744 points after four events. Faure finished second in the 60-meter dash (7.32), second in the high jump (1.91m), third in the long jump (6.57m) and eighth in the shot put (10.84m).

Freshman Paul O’Donoghue turned in a career-best time of 1:56.32 in the preliminaries of the 800-meter run to qualify for Friday’s final. O’Donoghue won his heat of the 800 and finished with the second-best time on the day.

Freshman Dennis Crawford and junior Ryan Venable each qualified for the 60-meter hurdle final on Thursday. Crawford finished second in his heat and fifth overall with a career-best time of 8.40 while Venable finished seventh overall with a time of 8.54.

Crawford also qualified for the 400-meter finals with a career-best time of 50.98, eighth among preliminary competitors.

The Panthers’ Distance Medley team finished the first day of competition with a fifth-place showing to earn four points towards the team score. The HPU team of sophomore Reece Ayers, freshman Nick Hula, O’Donaghue and freshman Eddie Whitlock finished with a time of 10:19.16.

High Point returns to the JDL Fast Track on Friday for the second and final day of the Big South Indoor Championships on Friday, Feb. 22. The day is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with the final three events of the heptathlon.