HPU Men’s cross country places ninth at VertCross Invitational

• The Panthers finished ninth out of 21 teams at the home event
• Sophomore Alejandro Juan Torres placed 28th in an 8k time of 25:49.88
• The Panthers return to action Oct. 28 at the Big South Championship in Asheville, N.C.

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University men’s cross country team placed ninth out of 21 teams at the VertCross Invitational Friday afternoon at the Ivey Redmon Sports Complex.

The Panthers posted 280 points to garner the ninth-place showing. George Mason won the event (63), followed by Duke (81), East Tennessee State (108), Northern Kentucky (131) and Appalachian State (132).

“Hosting today’s event was a lot of fun,” head coach Mike Esposito said. “My staff embraces events like this. We wanted to do something different with the 2K loops and I think the student-athletes enjoyed it. I was pleased with the turnout and I want to thank the people of Kernersville for helping us put on this meet.”

Sophomore Alejandro Juan Torres served as HPU’s No. 1 runner for the second time this season, finishing 28th overall in an 8K time of 25:49.88.

Senior Vinny Todaro came in next for the Panthers, finishing 45th in 26:09.73, while freshman Sean McGinnis was 79th in a collegiate-best 8K time of 26:38.60.

Senior Chernet Sisay battled through a leg injury to finish 104th, and sophomore Bryan Gonzalez was 123rd in 27:17.07.

Sophomore Patrick Van Der Cruyssen returned to the cross country course for the second time this season, and the Flying Dutchman sailed his way to the finish in 27:26.53 while serving as HPU’s No. 6 runner.

Freshmen TJ Morales (27:53.28) and Will Elliott (28:15.67) placed 155th and 174th, respectively, while sophomore Drew Roeber was 180th (28.20.88). Sophomore Spencer Ader rounded out the Panther roster in 212th (29:36.95).

“We have a great group of kids,” Esposito said. “We are what we are right now – a work in progress. Our leaders in front need to step up. Sean McGinnis has come along nicely and is progressing well as a freshman. Chernet has been struggling with some injuries, so that was a gutsy performance by him today. We’re going to clear our heads, regroup and I think you will see a much better team at conference.”

High Point will now train for two weeks before competing in the Big South Championship Oct. 28 in Asheville, N.C.