High Point University senior Dakota Peachee will run in the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Championship on Friday at 8:40 p.m. (EDT) at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The race will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3.
Peachee became the first HPU men’s track & field athlete to qualify for an NCAA final on Wednesday when he placed fifth in his semifinal heat at Hayward Field. Peachee finished in 8:45.81 and earned an automatic qualifying spot for the final as the top five finishers in each semifinal advanced.
The top eight finishers in the final will score in the meet and earn All-America status.
The trip to Eugene came off Peachee’s win at the NCAA Preliminary on May 24 in Greensboro, N.C. Peachee ran his career best time of 8:43.46 to win his heat and automatically qualify for the semifinals.
Earlier this spring, Peachee won the 3,000-meter steeplechase and placed third in the 1,500-meter at the Big South Championship. He initially broke the HPU record in the steeplechase with his time of 8:46.69 to win the Virginia Challenge on May 11.
High Point has had two other NCAA Championship qualifiers in men’s track & field. Taylor Milne qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championship in the mile in 2004. Jacob Smith qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 2012. Smith redshirted this season and will return to run indoor and outdoor track for HPU in 2013-14.
Esposito is in his eighth season as head coach at High Point University. At Big South Championships this year, High Point finished second in cross country for the fifth season in a row, finished second at the indoor championship and third at the outdoor championship. HPU’s runner-up finish indoors was the team’s best indoor finish. HPU tied its best finish outdoors.