BLACKSBURG, VA – High Point University men’s track and field won the Big South Indoor Track and Field Championship on Saturday (Feb 29.). High Point finished in first with 178 points, beating second-place Campbell by 57 points. This is the first conference championship in program history. Coach Mike Esposito was named Big South Men’s Coach of the Year and Big South Women’s Coach of the Year.
“The mentality was to compete, every jump, every throw, the next one was the most important one, everybody on the team counts,” said head coach Mike Esposito. “Track and field is not always viewed as a team sport but we view it as a team sport and you can see that right here. That was the big emphasis we are a team, defend the team. Defend the team.”
The Panthers started the day by sweeping the podium in the heptathlon. Benjamin Johnsen finished third with 5097 points scored. Gabriel Stainback finished second as he scored 5134 points. Pablo Romero finished first with a score of 5382. Romero set a new school record by scoring 5382 points. Romero beat his record that he set last year, the old record was 5,231.
HPU had four Panthers score in the high jump, John Singleton III finished tied for seventh with a mark of 1.83. Dekairi Brown and Gabriel Stainback cleared 1.93m. Brown finished sixth. Stainback cleared it on the first try so he finished fifth. Johnsen finished third for HPU with a mark of 2.03.
Hocine Bouchrak and Siro Pina Cardona finished second and fourth for HPU in the mile. Cardona finished fourth with a time of 4:13.85 for fourth. Bouchrak made another podium appearance by finishing second with a time of 4:08.81.
In the 400m, Bobby Dupell III finished fourth with a time of 49.25. It was an important performance for Dupell, his fourth-place finish brought in five points.
Larry Coaxum pulled out a big podium finish in the triple jump finishing third with a mark of 14.70m.
Pina Cardona brought home a big win in the 800m finishing at 1:53.08 Cardona finished first in the 800m final.
Deron Dudley finished fifth in the 200m with a time of 22.07m the finish scored five points for HPU.
High Point’s distance runners came through in a big spot today during the 3000m. HPU finished second, fourth, fifth, eighth. Hocine finished second after posting a time of 8:35.63. Spencer Smucker finished fourth finishing in 8:40.20. Austen Cave and Ian Miller did some important scoring poth panthers finished fifth and eighth. Cave finished with a time of 8:43.66 while Ian finished with 8:48.67.
The last event of the meet was the 4 x 400. The splits for the four were Dupell (49.794), Burton (49.377), Bogle (49.722), and Pina Cardona (51.051). High Point’s team finished third in the 4 x 400 with a time of 3:19.95.
The Panthers had nine stand on the podium today on their way to HPU’s first Big South title in program history.
“This means quite a bit, it’s been fifteen years I’m surprised they didn’t get rid of me before this. We have tremendous support from our administration and we think this is just the tip of the iceberg. I want to thank my staff I have the best coaching staff in the country and it’s not even close.” Coach Esposito answered when asked winning the Big South championship means to him.
Final Team Results
High Point (178)
Charleston Southern (79)
USC Upstate (49)
Gardner Webb (44)