LEXINGTON, Va. - The Citadel Bulldogs took the lead briefly in the final events, but the VMI Keydets used a sweep of the pole vault and domination of the mile to regain the lead for good en route to a 78-68 win in dual meet action Saturday at VMI's new Corps Physical Training Facility. The meet was the first NCAA competition inside the building that houses VMI's new indoor track.
The Citadel had pulled ahead by a single point late in the competition, but the Bulldogs did not field a competitor in the pole vault. That enabled VMI's Levi Whitt and Desmond Weinberg-Jones to collect the maximum eight combined points without opposition, and when Luke Phillips and Ryan Drew went 1-2 in the 3K moments later, VMI regained the lead for good.
For the second straight week, the Keydets were led by Greg Henderson in the sprints. Henderson defeated another of the SoCon's top sprinters, Josiah Johnson of The Citadel, in winning both the 60 (6.83) and the 200 (21.78). Henderson also hit the IC4A qualifying standard in both for the second straight meet.
Lee Warren was another VMI standout Saturday, as he won the 60-meter hurdles with an IC4A qualifying 8.18 time. Warren knocked off Malik Diggs, last year's conference runner-up in the 110 hurdles outdoors, in doing so, and then came back to finish third in the 200-meter dash with a personal best time of 22.92.
In addition to his win in the 3K, which he won with a kick over the final lap, Phillips was second in the mile by the slightest of margins. Both he and teammate Jay Broom were timed at 4:26.30, but Broom bested Phillips by thousandths of a second with a lean at the line.
Finally, the Keydets swept the top three spots in the long jump, another crucial event in capturing the win. The effort was led by Korey Bullard's 6.36 M/20'10 1/2" winning jump that just bested James Granderson's 6.35 M/20'10" effort.
"Today was a great day for our program," said VMI head coach Darrin Webb. "So many people put in so much time and effort to build and open this facility, and it turned out wonderfully. I would like to thank all the administrators, workers and staff for the various businesses and programs that helped put together this new building, and I would also like to thank the fans that came out today to support our teams. On the men's side, Greg Henderson continues to be outstanding so far this year and Lee Warren stepped up big today as well. We had several IC4A qualifying marks today as well, and we're very proud of being able to pick up the victory over a quality Citadel team."
VMI track and field will return to action Feb. 10, when the Keydets open competition at the Marshall Invite in Huntington, W.Va.