Jones won the high jump in his collegiate debut, posting what is believed to be the fourth-best indoor high jump in school history, a 2.10 meter/6’10 ¾” mark that would trail only Garrett Brickner, Dennis James and VMI record holder Dale Davis. Wood trailed him by just over three inches Saturday, finishing second in 2.02 M/6’7 ½”, but Wood went on to win the long jump with a best leap of 7.21 M/23’8”.
The senior prevailed in that event in a tiebreaker, with the second-best jump deciding the title and Wood edging out V.J. Defreitas of Duquesne. The Keydets also had two other high finishers in the long jump, with freshman Pete Reed finishing third (6.78 M/22’3”) and Nate Gant recording a sixth-place finish (6.62 M/21’8 ¾”). Reed also came back later in the meet to place seventh in the 60-meter dash (7.12 seconds).
Meanwhile, the other VMI victory on the day came in the 3,000-meters, where Cabell Willis was the winner in 8:47.52, besting teammate Sean Helmke, who clocked in at 8:54.27 in his collegiate debut.
The strong results continued with two more podium finishes, as sophomore Quincy Murphy was third in the 60-meter hurdles, timing in at 8.36 seconds, while freshman Staton Mayfield finished second in the pole vault (4.40 M/14’5 ¼”). Mayfield’s clearance was the highest indoor pole vault mark by a VMI competitor since Feb. 20, 2009.
Sophomore Hartnel Paultre got his second collegiate track season underway with a fourth-place finish in the 5K, crossing the line in 15:41.58, while Jason Thorpe posted a nearly three-second PR in the mile to record a fourth-place result in that event. Booth Hornsby finished fifth in the mile with a time of 4:23.66.
“Today was a very strong, exciting day for our teams,” said VMI head coach Darrin Webb. “Our staff and our athletes have set the stage for what I expect to be a very good indoor season, and today was a great start. Between the two programs, we had five first-place finishes, two IC4A qualifiers and nearly an ECAC qualifier. Both the freshmen, including Pete Reed, Staton Mayfield and Avion Jones, and the upper classmen, including Antonio Wood and others, showed well today, and I’m very pleased with our results as a whole.”
In other results, Julian Jackson was seventh in the 400-meters (50.61), Aron Long was fifth in the 200 (22.42) and the Keydet 4X4 squad of Jackson, Brandon Hartman, Murphy and Jacob Lysher was fifth (3:24.75).
VMI track and field will return to action Jan. 19, taking part in the Wake Forest Invitational at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C. The track is the same facility that will host this year’s Big South Indoor Championships Feb. 21 and 22.