HPU Men’s Cross Country Places Fourth At Pre-Nationals

• Senior Paddy Grandinali set a new 8k personal best with a time of 24:23.50 to place 16th
• Freshman Alejandro Torres eclipsed his best 8k time by close to 90 seconds while finishing 23rd (24:38.60)
• HPU placed fourth out of 31 teams in the event

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The High Point University men’s cross country team earned a fourth-place finish out of 31 teams Saturday at the Pre-Nationals event in Tom Sawyer Park.

Senior Paddy Grandinali and freshman Alejandro Torres placed in the top-30 to garner individual honors and pace the Panthers in the Bluegrass State.

Liberty won the team title with 159 points. UC Davis placed second (172) while Brown was third with 198 points. After HPU (223 points), Clemson (229), UMass Lowell (250), UMKC (282), Virginia Tech (284), Miami (Ohio) (285) and Tennessee (288) rounded out the top-10 teams in the race.

Grandinali led the Panthers with a 16th-place finish (24:23.50). The Warwick, N.Y., native set a new collegiate best 8k time by 13 seconds and is rounding into form as the Big South Championship approaches.

Torres continued his upward trajectory with a strong time of 24:38.60 to place 23rd out of 207 competitors. His time also was a collegiate best, surpassing his previous best 8k mark (26:02.0) by close to 90 seconds.

Junior Chernet Sisay broke the 25-minute barrier for the first time in his career Saturday and placed 46th with an excellent time of 24:57.10. Redshirt-senior Jeff LaCoste was close behind in 48th with a time of 24:59.10, marking his best 8k time since his Big South Championship victory race last November.

Rounding out the High Point contingent, sophomore Ryan Udvadia earned a 90th-place finish with a PR of 25:19.30, while junior Vinny Todaro was 94th in 25:22.40.

Senior Cody Seymour finished 157th in 26:04.60.

“It was a bit of a mixed bag out there for us today,” head coach Mike Esposito said. “We just didn’t put it together as a team. Vinny had a rare off day, which set us back a bit. Paddy, Alejandro and Chernet were all solid. We put in some good individual performances, but not a great team effort. We have a big challenge ahead of us in two weeks facing Liberty and Campbell at the conference championship. We have a lot of work to do.”

HPU now will focus on two weeks of critical training before defending its Big South Championship crown on Oct. 31 in Spartanburg, S.C.