HPU Men’s cross country releases 2016 schedule

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s cross country team has released its 2016 schedule.

The Panthers will race in a marquee event – the Beantown Invitational in Boston – and also take part in a number of local meets to compete against Big South opponents and prep for October’s league meet.

“Our schedule provides a good mix of distances and competition,” head coach Mike Esposito said. “The way the events are set up, it will provide solid training blocks and racing opportunities to prepare us for the Big South Championship in October.”

HPU opens the season on Thursday, Sept. 1 at the Elon Opener, a 6K race on the campus of Elon University. High Point won the event last year, placing five runners in the top-8 of the race.

From there, the Panthers head north for an elite 8k at historic Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. Last season’s Beantown Invitational field included 2015 national champion Syracuse, national meet qualifier Florida State and nationally-ranked programs Virginia and Penn.

“We’re really looking forward to the trip to Boston,” Esposito said. “It’s a great opportunity for Chernet [Sisay] to have a homecoming during his senior campaign. It also will be a good test for us to compete with some of the best teams in the nation.”

The Panthers open October with 8k events at UNC Asheville (Oct. 1) and Wake Forest (Oct. 14) before taking a two-week competitive break to prepare for the Big South Championship. The annual league meet will be hosted by Charleston Southern University on Oct. 29.

HPU then will send a limited group to the Three Stripe Invitational on Nov. 5 in Cary before racing in the NCAA Southeast Regional on Nov. 11 in Earlysville, Va.

The Panthers return a pair of all-conference selections in 2016. Rising senior Vinny Todaro placed seventh at last year’s Big South meet and will look to continue his outstanding progression during his senior campaign. Todaro placed 51st as a freshman, 21st as a sophomore and then seventh in 2015.

Rising sophomore Alejandro Juan Torres placed 10th in his first Big South meet and put together outstanding track & field seasons, earning a trio of all-conference honors while helping the Panthers claim the indoor Big South crown in the distance medley relay.

HPU also returns rising senior Chernet Sisay, who is poised for a breakout cross country campaign. He just missed all-conference accolades in 2015 (13th-place finish) and should be a part of the Panthers’ top-3 runners during the 2016 season.

In addition to the that trio, High Point returns sophomores Bryan Gonzalez, Spencer Ader and Jeff Mettler, and also will bring sophomore Drew Roeber into the fold.

The Panthers welcome a quintet of freshman to the roster in 2016, including Will Elliott (Leawood, Kan.), Anthony Morales (Stony Point, N.Y.), Bradford Isenhour (West Point, N.Y.), Sean McGinnis (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Felix Wammetsberger (Karlsruhe, Germany).