HPU men, women win fourth straight conference track titles

May 9—HIGH POINT — High Point University's women surged late while the men won handily as both teams captured team titles in the Big South Conference track and field championships Wednesday at Vert Stadium.

The conference championships were the fourth in a row for both teams.

The Panthers totaled 242 points on the women's side, edging second-place Charleston Southern with 231 in the eight-team field. They finished with 288.5 on the men's side, well ahead of second-place USC Upstate with 156 in the seven-team field.

High Point's Auriane Viola earned Most Outstanding Performance for the women based on having the highest-ranking performance nationally at the meet using current TFFRS marks, as her pole vault winning height of 4.15m ranks tied for 53rd in the country.

High Point's Cole Wilson earned Most Outstanding Performance for the men based on the same criteria using current TFFRS marks, as his decathlon-winning score of 7,466 ranks 19th in the country.

Winning events for High Point women were: Sydney Koker (high jump, 1.76m), Brianna Malone (1,500m, 4:27.93), Letizia Marsico (discus, 48.57m; shot put, 14.62m), Lindsay Cooper (100m hurdles, 13.64; 400m hurdles, 59.15), Nikki Frail (800m, 2:09.52), Karlea Duhon (javelin, 42.59m), Dae'Nitra Hester (200m, 23.65), Viola (pole vault) and Katie Taylor (3,000m steeplechase, 10:32.14).

Winning events for the High Point men were: Chris Van Niekerk (discus, 53.96m; shot put, 18.77m), Shaun Thomas (high jump, 2.14m), Graham Ferguson (1,500m, 3:46.21), A'lajuwan Robinson (100m, 10.31), Othmane El Gharissi (5,000, 14:35..67), Wilson (decathlon), Jake Tarosky (3,000m steeplechase, 9:03.49) and Reid Holloway (pole vault, 5.15m), as well as the 4x100 (40.08) and 4x400 (3:14.42) relays.

Robinson earned Men's Newcomer of the Year, while Ferguson was selected to the Men's All-Academic Team. Malone was named the Women's Freshman of the Year, while Mike Esposito was the Women's Coach of the Year and Charli Montalvo was chosen for the Women's All-Academic Team.

The Panthers, who also swept the conference indoor team titles and the won the women's cross-country championship, will next compete in the Dani Palooza Last Chance meet Sunday at Vert Stadium. They will also compete in the Tucson Elite meet May 16-18 before the NCAA Championships first round May 22-25.