YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Avion Jones continued his recent run of success by winning the high jump once again, while Avery Martin claimed his first collegiate win by prevailing in the 1,000-meters to lead the VMI men’s track and field team at the YSU Invitational, contested Friday in Youngstown, Ohio.
Jones, returning to the scene of his impressive debut in December, broke his own facility record by clearing 2.13 meters (6’11 ¾”) to win the high jump for the third straight meet. The freshman is now tied for 34th nationally in the event, continues to lead the Big South and is one of only three conference athletes to have cleared even two meters so far this season. Jones was also second in the triple jump, posting an effort of 14.17 meters (46’6”) to earn that runner-up spot.
Martin, meanwhile, took the 1K by posting a time of 2:30.27 and winning by more than a second. It was his first collegiate win after finishing third in the mile last week at the JDL Fast Track. Martin’s time Friday was just over a second shy of an IC4A qualifying effort.
Sophomore Julian Jackson had a strong meet, finishing in the top four in a pair of events. Jackson clocked in at 50.26 to place fourth in the 400-meters, and was also third in the 500-meters, where he times in at 1:07.93.
The Keydets had five other athletes earn top-five finishes, paced by the veteran Cabell Willis in the 5K. Willis was third in that event, finishing in 15:07.17, a lifetime indoor best. Senior Jason Thorpe was fourth in the mile, shattering his previous personal best time by some five seconds and crossing the line in 4:19.06, while Jacob Lysher was fourth in the 800-meters at 1:56.03. Lysher now ranks second in the Big South at that distance.
In addition, Korey Bullard tied for fourth in the high jump, posting a 1.90 meter (6’2 ¾”) effort, and Hartnel Paultre was fifth in the 3K, crossing the stripe in 8:41.48. Finally, Joel Hoisington was sixth in the shot (14.37 M/47’1 ¾”) and while he did not compete in the final, Aron Long timed in at 7.08 in the qualifying round of the 60-meters, good enough for seventh-fastest.
"An additional week of practice really showed today," said VMI head coach Darrin Webb. "We had over 25 seasonal best performances. I was really pleased with all event areas. I thought Paultre, Thorpe, Lysher, Newcomb, Hoisington, Reives, Jackson, Bailey, Legg and Willis all had outstanding meets, among others."
"I have to say, however, Avion Jones continues to excel. Getting second in the triple jump and winning the high jump with a new facility record really stood out. That jump not only puts him third on the IC4A list (entering the weekend), but it is currently the fourth-highest jump by a freshman in the country."
The VMI track and field team will send a handful of multi event participants to Liberty University Saturday for day two of the Liberty Open, beginning at 9 a.m., and then the squad returns to action in full on Feb. 8, taking part in the Liberty Quad, also held in Lynchburg.