• Senior Will Narramore set a new school record in the long jump (7.35m, 24-1.50) while winning his first career Big South title
• Senior Austin Miller won his second-consecutive indoor Big South vault title with a meet record jump of 5.11m (16-9.25)
• HPU’s DMR team won the school’s second DMR title in three years (10:17.68)
BLACKSBURG, Va. – Propelled by championship performances from Austin Miller, Will Narramore and a quartet of DMR distance runners, the High Point University men’s track & field team sits in second place after day one of competition at the Big South Indoor Track & Field Championship.
The Panthers posted 53 points through six events Friday. Liberty leads the meet with 83 points while Campbell (40) and Gardner-Webb (18) sit in third and fourth, respectively. Winthrop (16), UNC Asheville (12) and Charleston Southern (9) round out the field in Blacksburg.
Leading off events for the Purple & White Friday, senior Austin Miller continued his outstanding senior campaign with another meet record performance in the pole vault. His mark of 5.11m (16-9.25) during a final bar jump off earned him a win over Liberty’s Carson Waters (5.01m, 16-5.25).
He is the fourth student-athlete in Big South history to win the league’s indoor vault title in consecutive seasons, joining Adam Williams (Liberty), JB Rosson (VMI) and Kolby Shepherd (Liberty).
HPU racked up 17 total points in the vault during an outstanding day for the Purple & White contingent. Junior Isaiah Henderson shattered his indoor PR of 4.30m with an excellent mark of 4.56m (14-11.5) to place fifth and pick up four points for the Panthers. Sophomore Todd Uckermark was sixth after clearing the 4.56m bar on his second attempt.
Narramore saved his best for last this indoor season, crushing his PR by half a meter while soaring his way to the Big South long jump title. His mark of 7.35m (24-1.50) broke an HPU school record that had stood for 18 years (Kodi Coverson, 1998 – 7.31m, 23-11.75).
Narramore trailed Campbell’s Lorne Jenkins (7.32m) with one jump to go, but powered through with his spectacular mark in a truly clutch performance for the Purple & White. It marked the Nashville product’s first career Big South title. He will look to win another tomorrow in his event specialty – the triple jump.
HPU’s distance unit racked up 25 points on the day, highlighted by a quartet of Panthers that captured the program’s second DMR league title in the past three years. The winning team – which posted a time of 10:17.68 – was made up of Miller, seniors Vinny Todaro and Benji Szalai and freshman Alejandro Torres.
“We had a great day on the guys side,” head coach Mike Esposito said. “Austin was extremely competitive in the jump off and showed the fortitude our program prides itself on. With Will, you don’t get to see am exhilarating performance like his a lot during a coaching career. And Austin coming back to help the DMR team win was pretty cool to see. I look forward to seeing how high we can get our point total tomorrow.”
High Point accumulated 15 points in the 3000m run behind a pair of outstanding finishes. Junior Vinny Todaro placed second in 8:27.52, crushing his indoor collegiate best by close to nine seconds. In addition, junior Benji Szalai placed third in 8:28.03, marking his best time in the event in more than a year.
Redshirt-senior Jeff LaCoste finished eighth in 8:42.26 to pick up another point for the Purple & White.
In throws action, senior Jim Wilson put together a season-best performance in the weight throw while placing eighth (14.24m, 46-8.75) to grab a point for HPU. Freshman Britton Mann placed 10th (13.09m, 42-11.50).
Junior Pat Irwin is putting together a solid showing in his first ever Big South heptathlon. Irwin sits in fifth place through four events with 2487 points. He won the high jump portion of the event with a PR of 1.94m (6-4.25). The final three stages of the heptathlon resume Saturday at 10 a.m.
In event qualifying, defending 60m hurdles champion Dennis Crawford won his heat Friday with a time of 8.42 seconds. He advances to Saturday’s final which will be held at 1 p.m.
Sophomore James House (6.88 seconds) and freshman Sean Banda (6.90) finished first and third, respectively, in the 60m dash trials to advance to Saturday’s final (2 p.m.). Senior Andrew Kuras just missed the final with a time of 7.08 seconds to place ninth.
House also qualified for the 200m dash with a fifth place finish in the prelims (22.15 seconds), while senior Nick Hula sailed into the 400-meter final with a time of 50.63 seconds.
In the 800m run, the Panthers qualified a pair of student-athletes, including senior Paul O’Donoghue (1:56.94) and freshman Patrick Van Der Cruyssen (1:56.99).
The Panthers wrap up the 2016 Big South Championship Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.