WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Avion Jones continued a sterling start to his collegiate career, winning a high jump showdown with the defending Big South champion to take the event title and lead the VMI Keydets at the Wake Forest Invitational, held Saturday at the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Jones sailed over the bar at 2.06 meters (6'9") to best Liberty's Kyle Wheeler, last year's Big South Indoor and Outdoor Champion, by five full inches. It marks the second straight meet in which Jones has both won the high jump and posted an IC4A mark, following his leap (2.10 M/6'10 ¾") at the YSU Icebreaker in December that was the fourth-best in school history.
"Overall, I felt that we performed well today," said VMI head coach Darrin Webb. "Considering that our team just came back from its Christmas furlough on Monday, I was relatively pleased with quite a few of our performances, including Avion Jones in the high jump. The men's DMR and Avery Martin in the mile had performances that could grow into IC4A times, which is good to see so early in the season. We will get back to work Monday at practice, as these next 2-3 weeks are critical in our preparation for the indoor conference championships."
Martin, in fact, would wind up third in the mile, clocking in at 4:21.66 in the first race of his collegiate career. The distance medley squad of Jacob Lysher, Aron Long, Martin and Helmke would finish third, but would do so in a time of 10:30.20. Meanwhile, both Lysher and Long would have notable results in other events Saturday, with Lysher finishing fifth in the 800 (1:58.45) and Long placing 11th in the 200 (22.99).
The Keydets also saw four other top five finishes, which sparked them to a third place finish among the 11 teams that recorded points in the event scoring. Cabell Willis was fourth in the 3K, clocking in at 8:46.16, while his cross country teammate, Hartnel Paultre, was third in the 5K at 15:18.71. Freshman Jordan White placed third in the weight throw, recording a 15.30 meter (50'2") mark, while Joel Hoisington was fifth in the shot put (13.93 M/45'8 ½")
VMI track and field will return to action Friday, Jan. 25, as the Keydets take part in two meets. Certain athletes will travel to Lynchburg, Va. to take part in the Liberty Open, while others will compete in the Youngstown State Invitational in Youngstown, Ohio.