ELON, N.C. – High Point University seniors Vinny Todaro and Chernet Sisay both placed within the top-3 to lead the men’s cross country team to a second place showing on Thursday at the Elon Opener.
The Panthers notched 60 points to garner the second-place finish while the region’s seventh ranked team – the University of North Carolina – won the event with 41 points. UNCG finished third (90), followed by Coastal Carolina (95), Elon (100) and UNC Pembroke (107).
After finishing fourth at the Elon Opener in 2015, Todaro improved to second in 2016 with a time of 18:56. Sisay went from eighth in 2015 to third this season after crossing the finish line in 19:00.
Sophomore Alejandro Juan Torres registered a 13th-place finish (19:38) while freshman Sean McGinnis made his HPU debut as the Panthers’ fourth runner. The Phoenixville, Pa., product placed 18th with a time of 19:44.
Fellow freshman TJ Morales rounded out the Panther top-5 in 25th (20:00) and sophomore Drew Roeber was 28th in 20:07.
Freshman Will Elliott crossed the finish line in 20:10 to place 33rd and sophomore Bryan Gonzalez was 48th in 21:10. Sophomore Spencer Ader rounded out the HPU contingent in 21:38.
“I thought we engaged initially and then some of the freshman drifted. But we recuperated well, which was nice to see,” head coach Mike Esposito said, “Vinny ran with confidence and I loved watching Chernet stick his nose up front and lead. He has come a long way. Alejandro had an off day but he has been running well; we’re going to have to develop after our top-3. Our freshmen and Drew will need to keep growing and I’m confident they will.”
The Panthers now take a two-week break from competition before heading to Boston to race in the Coast-To-Coast Battle in Beantown, Sept. 16 (3:30 p.m.).