HPU Track and Field: Miller, Spaulding, Wilson Make History At UNCG Meet

• HPU swept all five of its dual meet opponents and won 8-of-13 events on the day
• Junior Austin Miller broke his own school record in the pole vault; His mark of 5.05m (16-6.75) is the fourth-best indoor mark in Big South history
• Senior Christian Spaulding broke his own HPU record in the weight throw (15.75m, 51-8.25)
• Junior Jim Wilson shattered the indoor shot put school record previously set in 1988 with a mark of 14.16m (46-5.50)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Senior Christian Spaulding and juniors Austin Miller and Jim Wilson combined to break a trio of school records to lift the High Point University men’s track & field team to a sweep of its dual meet opponents on Sunday at the UNCG Spartan Team Challenge.

Wilson, Spaulding and Miller helped HPU capture victories in 8-of-13 events Sunday and post a perfect 5-0 mark against its dual meet opponents. HPU upended Campbell (84-42), NC Central (80-42), Savannah State (78-49), Wofford (97-25) and host UNCG (96-17) on the day.

“What a wonderful day for our program,” associate head coach Eric Dudley said. “To go 5-0 on the weekend and to dominate conference foe Campbell was fantastic. We talk a lot about competing for each other and as a team, and I think we showed in our first of six team-scoring opportunities that we take it seriously. We came in ready to put points on the board, and we did. Being a strong dual meet team requires two things: a complete well-rounded track team, and depth on that team. We were the deepest, most well balanced program today.”

Miller broke his own school record in the pole vault for the second time in three meets this indoor season. Miller’s mark of 5.05m (16-6.75) far surpassed his previous high of 4.90m (16-1) set at the JDL Kickoff Classic in December. It’s the fourth-best indoor vault mark in the history of the Big South Conference.

Wilson took down an HPU record in the shot put that stood for 27 years before falling on Sunday. His first-place throw of 14.16m (46-5.50) broke the previous mark of 13.41m (44’8) set in 1988 by John Aybar.

Wilson’s throws partner Spaulding shattered his own school record in the weight throw by a sizable margin, as the Middletown, N.J., native won the event with a mark of 15.75m (51-8.25). His previous top mark was 14.93m (48-11.75) set at the Liberty Open on Jan. 26, 2013.

“The guys were on fire today,” Dudley said. “Christian broke his own weight throw record by nearly three feet and Jim shattered John Aybar’s record in the shot put by nearly two feet. And then Austin took it to a whole new level in the pole vault to break his own school record by half a foot, getting over the 5m barrier for the first time.”

In addition to Spaulding’s record mark, Wilson also set a personal-best mark in the weight throw en route to a second-place finish.

While Miller took home the top mark in the pole vault, freshman Todd Uckermark went toe-to-toe with Miller for much of the event while posting a second-place finish. His mark of 4.85m (15-11) was a collegiate best for the young talent out of Warwick, N.Y.

The HPU distance unit made its debut with gusto on Sunday, winning all four events on the docket.

The Panthers took the top-5 spots in the 3000m run, led by freshman Ryan Udvadia who made his indoor debut with a time of 8:43.31 to win the event. Senior Chris Colo finished second in 8:49.28 to break his indoor PR by more than 14 seconds, while junior Cody Seymour was third in 8:58.18. Freshman James Quattlebaum (8:59.65) and sophomore Chernet Sisay (9:22.60) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Junior Benji Szalai claimed victory in the mile run with a time of 4:21.32 and Colo was second in 4:22.00. Quattlebaum placed third in 4:23.47 while redshirt-senior John Yankello finished sixth (4:31.12).

Junior Paul O’Donoghue started his indoor season off with a bang by capturing the 800m title in 1:55.78. Sophomore Nick Williams was 12th in the event with a time of 2:05.28.

Wrapping up distance action, HPU’s distance medley relay team claimed victory Sunday with a time of 10:24.34. The quartet of Panthers included Udvadia, junior Nick Hula and sophomores Luke Goodrich and Vinny Todaro.

On the sprints circuit, freshman James House continued his strong start to the season with a victory in the 200m dash. House crossed the finish line in 22.41 seconds while junior Andrew Kuras finished fifth with a PR of 22.83 seconds.

House placed second in the 60m dash (6.89) and Kuras was sixth with a PR of 7.02 seconds. Sophomore Eric Purnell finished eighth in 7.13 seconds.

Junior Will Narramore led the jumps squad with a third-place finish in the triple jump (13.70m, 44-11.50) and sophomore Pat Irwin was fifth with a mark of 13.08m (42-11).

“Paul O’Donoghue is a racing tactics genius, and some of his best work was on display this afternoon with his win in the 800m,” Dudley added. “James House put up a great fight to hold on to win the 200m. Our dominance in the distance events was especially striking as we won every event above 800m. Freshman Ryan Udvadia showed up big in the 3000m, running a time that puts him No. 2 in the Big South right now.”

HPU now looks to keep up the momentum from a fantastic dual meet sweep next weekend when the team splits up for a pair of events. HPU’s field unit will remain at JDL for the Hilton Garden Invitational while the distance squad will head to Happy Valley to race at the Penn State National Invitational. Both events will take place Jan. 30-31.