HPU’s Peachee Sets Meet Record En Route to Win at Big South Championship

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Senior Dakota Peachee set a meet record and won the 3,000-meter steeplechase to cap off a weather-delayed second day of the Big South Championship on Friday in Lynchburg, Va. Freshman Benji Szalai took second in the steeplechase. Earlier in the day, junior Tristan Faure set an HPU record while winning the decathlon.

Peachee, Szalai and Liberty senior Josh McDonald raced together almost the entire way. Peachee made a definitive move with just over a lap remaining and pulled away for a career-best and meet-record time of 8:51.00. Szalai also passed McDonald and held him off for second place, finishing in 8:55.16. McDonald finished in 8:55.31. HPU sophomore Chris Colo picked off several runners in the closing laps, finishing fifth in 9:24.78.

With a lengthened day due to weather delays, it took until nearly 10:30 p.m. for the Panthers to get their 22 points in the steeplechase.

Faure’s score of 7,002 crushed his previous HPU record of 6,633 points from last year’s Big South Championship. He started Friday’s events with a win in the decathlon 110-meter hurdles, running a wind-aided time of 14.98. He went on to throw the discus 36.16 meters (118-8) and clear 4.06 meters (13-3.75) in the pole vault, taking second in both events. He threw the javelin 44.29 meters (145-4) and capped off the event with a time of 4:26.15 in the 1,500-meter.

Through eight events, HPU ranked second with 47 points behind only Liberty, which totaled 84 through two days. VMI ranked third with 45 followed by Coastal Carolina at 43. Gardner-Webb ranked fifth with 26 points.

In Friday’s preliminaries, junior Evan Emery, freshmen Eddie Whitlock and Dennis Crawford and senior Ryan Venable all advanced to finals on Saturday. Emery posted the fastest time in the 100-meter dash (10.23) and second-fastest in the 200-meter dash (20.94) and won his heat of both events. The times were very fast but wind-aided.

Crawford advanced to Saturday’s finals in both the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles and he’ll be joined in the 110-meter hurdles by Venable. Venable finished third among 110-meter hurdle qualifiers with a time of 14.51. Whitlock won his heat of the 800-meter with a time of 1:55.30, outkicking Liberty’s Trevor Hope in the last 200 meters to advance.

Redshirt-senior Corey Law, who joined the track & field team after completing his collegiate basketball career, cleared 1.79 meters (5-10.5) in the high jump to place 14th. Freshmen Adam DeVito and Jordan Carr also competed in the high jump, clearing 1.84 meters (6-0.5) and finishing ninth and 12th, respectively.

On Thursday, sophomore Christian Spaulding was runner-up in the javelin and freshmen Paddy Grandinali and Cody Seymour placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 10,000-meter.

Saturday’s action begins with the men’s discus at 10 a.m. and the first running event is the 4×100 relay at 12:40 p.m. The meet wraps up with the 4×400 relay at 4:30 p.m.