Jacob Smith Wins 3,000-Meter To Lead HPU Track & Field At Big South Indoor Championship

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The High Point University men’s track & field team picked up two event wins on the first day of the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships on Friday in Blacksburg, Va. Redshirt-senior Jacob Smith won the 3,000-meter and the Panther DMR team finished in first to lead HPU.

High Point currently sits in second place with 37 total points after the first day of action. Liberty leads the field with 74 points.

“We didn’t have a perfect day but it was pretty good,” said head coach Mike Esposito. “It was great to see Jacob get a win and the DMR group was exciting to watch. Paddy Grandinali had a great final leg and held off the VMI team. We are in pretty good position heading in to the final day.”

Smith finished the 3,000 meters with an indoor career-best time of 8:14.72, nearly two second better than the second-place finisher. It is the second time that Smith has won the 3,000-meters at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championships having previously won in 2012. Senior Patrick Crawford also scored in the event for the Panthers, finishing in fifth place with a time of 8:23.97.

The HPU Distance Medley Relay team of Jeff LaCoste, Nick Hula, Kevin Maquire and Paddy Grandinali took first with a combined time of 10:06.18. The Panthers crossed the line just three-tenths ahead of second-place finisher VMI.

Dennis Crawford ran a time of 8.11 in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles, the third best time of the day. He broke the school record of 8.24 that he shared with Alex Fisher.

Two HPU student athletes scored in the field events on Friday as sophomore Austin Miller finished fourth in the pole vault and sophomore Adam DeVito finished sixth in the long jump. Miller earned five points towards the team score by clearing a height of 4.70 meters (15-5). Devito cleared a season-best distance of 6.96 meters (22-10) in the long jump to earn three points.

Several HPU athletes competed in preliminary events on Friday and qualified for the event finals later this weekend. Senior Evan Emery was the top qualifier in the 60-meter dash, finishing with a time of 6.87.

In addition to running in the DMR, Hula qualified for the 400-meters with a time of 49.35. Paul O’Donoghue and Eddie Whitlock both qualified in the 800 meters. O’Donoghue had the second-best time on the day, crossing the line in 1:53.75 and Whitlock finished two spots back in fourth with a time of 1:53.43.

The Big South Championship will continue on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.