LYNCHBURG, Va. — The High Point University men’s track & field team competed in the Liberty Collegiate Invitational on Friday and Saturday, getting wins from Dennis Crawford, Christian Spaulding, Cody Seymour and Eddie Whitlock, in Lynchburg, Va. Three Panthers also competed at the Colonial Relays at William & Mary, including Benji Szalai, who won the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Spaulding threw the javelin 59.51 meters (195-3) on his first attempt for the win at Liberty. He also competed in the discus, placing eighth with a throw of 39.42 meters (129-4). Freshman Jim Wilson placed seventh in the discus with a throw of 41.26 meters (135-4) and took ninth in the shot put with a distance of 13.27 meters (43-6.5).
Whitlock finished his last 300 meters of the 1,500-meter in a quick 43 seconds, kicking home for the win in 4:00.40. Seymour won the 5,000-meter by over 30 seconds, finishing in 15:26.12. Senior Mike Thiele took sixth in the 5K. Sophomore Chris Colo placed third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:39.67. Freshman Paul O’Donoghue led five HPU finishers in the 800-meter, placing fifth overall with a time of 1:56.87.
Crawford and senior Ryan Venable finished 1-2 in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.05 and 15.08, respectively. They raced into a head wind. Freshman Nick Hula took sixth and Crawford placed eighth in the 400-meter hurdles. Hula finished in 56.96. Freshman Ben Gjebre took seventh in the 400-meter in a career-best 50.21. Freshman Andrew Kuras placed 10th in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Freshman Austin Miller placed second in the pole vault with a height of 4.65 meters (15-3). He cleared both 4.50 and 4.65 on his first attempts at each height. Freshman Harris Coley placed 10th in the pole vault. Also in the jumps, Max Coleman placed eighth in the long jump with a distance of 6.67 meters (21-10.75) and freshman Jordan Carr took seventh in the high jump with a height of 1.89 meters (6-2.25).
At the Colonial Relays, Szalai won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:09.14. Freshman Paddy Grandinali ran a career best of 14:43.27, good for 18th place, and sophomore Jeff LaCoste placed 22nd in a career-best 14:34.59.
“Benji won, which was the goal, although we would have liked to get some better competition and a faster time,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “Paddy ran very well. He kept bridging through as the groups separated. Jeff looked great through 3K and didn’t finish as well as he could have, but still got a PR.”
Next weekend, the Panthers will compete in the Aggie Invitational at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro. It’s the team’s final tune-up for the Big South Championship, which will be held April 18-20 at Liberty.