HPU men’s cross country finishes third at Big South Championship

HPU men’s cross country finishes third at Big South

• HPU placed three runners in the top-10 and six in the top-15
• Senior Paddy Grandinali led HPU with a sixth-place finish (24:39.49)
• High Point’s four all-conference selections are tied for the second-most in school history

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Four High Point University men’s cross country student-athletes earned all-conference honors to lead the Panthers to a third-place finish at the 2015 Big South Championship Saturday at Milliken Park.

Campbell won its first ever Big South title with 31 points, followed by Liberty (42) and the Panthers (48). After the very competitive top-3, Radford (120) and UNC Asheville (137) finished a ways back in the fourth and fifth positions.

HPU placed three runners in the top-10 and six in the top-15 to put together a solid showing in Spartanburg.

“I thought we ran well as a team, but we got beat today,” head coach Mike Esposito said. “Our guys have shown great improvements all season and there were a number of strong performances today. There is still time for us to reach our full potential and we look forward to preparing for the NCAA Regional meet in November.”

Senior Paddy Grandinali led the Panthers for the second-straight race with his best ever Big South finish, placing sixth in a strong time of 24:39.49. Junior Vinny Todaro joined Grandinali in the top-10 while placing seventh in 24:54.24.

After finishing 51st as a freshman, Todaro placed 21st in 2014 and far surpassed that showing with his seventh-place performance Saturday.

Freshman Alejandro Torres put together a strong showing in his Big South debut, finishing 10th in a solid time of 25:03.40. Senior Jeff LaCoste was right behind in 12th in a time of 25:15.49.

Grandinali, Todaro, Torres and LaCoste all earned Big South all-conference honors for their efforts. LaCoste is a four-time all-conference selection in cross country, while Grandinali is an all-conference pick for the third-straight campaign.

The four all-conference selections is tied for the second-most In program history.

Junior Chernet Sisay just missed all-conference honors en route to a 13th-place showing. The Brookline, Mass., native crossed the finish line in 25:18.01. The finish was seven spots better than Sisay’s 2014 showing.

Sophomore Ryan Udvadia finished 15th in 25:40.96 while senior Benji Szalai made his 2015 debut and placed 24th in 26:06.99. Senior Cody Seymour was 27th in 26:29.35. It marked the best finish of his Big South career.

Freshman Bryan Gonzalez rounded out the HPU contingent with a 44th-place finish (27:26.63).

HPU now takes a two-week break before returning to action at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship Nov. 13 at Panorama Farms in Earlysville, Va.