HPU Men’s Track Takes Third, Wins Four Events At Big South Championship

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The High Point University men’s track & field team won four events and finished third at the Big South Indoor Championship on Friday and Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. The four wins were most ever for HPU at a Big South indoor meet and the Panthers also set four HPU records.

Champions included Evan Emery (60-meter), Eddie Whitlock (800-meter), Jacob Smith (3,000-meter) and HPU’s distance medley relay team of Jeff LaCoste, Nick Hula, Kevin Maguire and Paddy Grandinali.

“We had a great performance this weekend,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “All the winners and the school records made it special. The 108 points were the second-most we’ve ever scored and more than we scored last year when we finished second last year. It was a great atmosphere and we’ve got great momentum going into the outdoor season.”

Liberty won the team title with 161.5 points followed by Campbell (137) and High Point (108). VMI finished third with 73 points followed by Gardner-Webb (58), Radford (55.5), Charleston Southern (52), Winthrop (12) and UNC Asheville (six).

The distance medley relay team set a school record of 10:06.18 while getting the win on Friday night. They edged VMI (10:06.41) by less than a second and broke the old HPU record of 10:07.20 from 2009.

Emery’s 60-meter championship time of 6.83 was an HPU record, besting the old record of 6.84 by Justin Conaway from 2008.

High Point went 1-3 in the 800-meter. Whitlock got the win in 1:53.32, edging VMI’s Avery Martin (1:53.58). HPU sophomore Paul O’Donoghue placed third in 1:54.05.

Smith won the 3,000-meter with a time of 8:14.72 on Friday evening. On Saturday, Smith placed second in the mile (4:09.07) and fifth in the 5,000-meter (14:41.35). Senior Patrick Crawford also had a strong showing in the distance events, placing third in the 5,000-meter (14:28.91) and fifth in the 3,000 (8:23.97). LaCoste placed seventh and Grandinali placed eighth in the 5,000.

HPU finished the meet on Saturday by taking second in the 4×400 relay with a school-record time of 3:18.46, besting the old HPU record of 3:19.81 from 2003. Hula, O’Donaghue, Whitlock and Dennis Crawford were on the record relay team.

Crawford posted an HPU record of 8.11 in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles on Friday, then came back with an 8.18 (also under the old record) to place third in the final on Saturday. Hula place sixth in the open 400-meter (49.92) on Saturday.

HPU scored nine points in the pole vault on Friday. Sophomore Austin Miller cleared 4.70 meters (15-5) to place fourth and freshman Jose San Miguel placed fifth with a height of 4.40 meters (14-5.25).

The Panthers also had a strong showing in the jumps. Sophomore Will Narramore placed fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 14.16 meters (46-5.5) and eighth in the long jump at 6.79 meters (22-3.5). Sophomore Adam DeVito took sixth in the long jump at 6.96 meters (22-10) and freshman Patrick Irwin placed eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 13.41 meters (44-0).

It was the fourth time in 12 Big South indoor championships that High Point finished in the top three. High Point posted its best Big South indoor finish, second place, last year. HPU scored 108 points this season and 98.5 last year.