CCU's Flanagan Tabbed All-American; HPU's Smith Finishes 19th
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Coastal Carolina University javelin thrower Jason Flanagan capped his prestigious collegiate career with Second-Team All-American honors on Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in Des Moines, Iowa. Meanwhile, High Point junior Jacob Smith placed 10th in his heat and 19th overall in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Smith was HPU's first NCAA qualifier since 2004.
Flanagan threw for 68.70m (225-04) on his second attempt of the day to place 16th, earning Second Team All-American honors, in the 24-competitor field. He opened the event with a throw of 67.83m (222-06), which initially placed him ninth. He would foul on his third and final attempt.
Flanagan joins Thomas Jordan (javelin, 2006) and Mark Johnson (pole vault, 2005) as the only Chanticleers from the men's track and field program to earn All-America honors.
The senior concludes his Chanticleer career as one of the greatest javelin athletes to ever compete in the Big South Conference. This season he has thrice set the all-time Coastal Carolina and Big South javelin records, most recently at the 2012 Big South Championships with a gold medal-winning throw of 73.01m (239-06). In addition to his 2012 Big South Championship, he also earned All-Conference plaudits in both 2010 and 2011.
Smith ran mid-pack in the first several laps of his race. As it spread out about four laps in, Smith hung on to the lead group but couldn't gain ground as the race developed. He was around 10th position with three laps to go and ended up finishing 10th in 8:53.00. It was his second-best time ever.
Henry Lelei from Texas A&M led most of the race before Cory Leslie of Ohio State and Tom Wade from Lamar passed him with under two laps to go. Lelei took the lead back just before the final water jump and cruised to victory with a winning time of 8:39.09. Indiana's Andrew Poore was the fifth and final qualifier in Smith's heat, running a time of 8:42.50. Donn Cabral of Princeton won the other heat in 8:38.12.
Smith set a High Point record of 8:47.09 at the NCAA Preliminary on June 6 in Jacksonville, Fla., placing 12th to qualify for the NCAA Final. He won two events at both the Big South indoor and outdoor meets and set career bests in every event he ran this spring. Smith set and HPU record of 8:13.87 in the 3,000-meter and career bests of 3:46.65 in the 1,500-meter and 14:01.66 in the 5,000-meter.
The steeplechase has become a feature event for High Point. Along with Smith, the Panthers had junior Dakota Peachee run a career-best 8:55.44 at the NCAA Preliminary. Sophomore Patrick Crawford ran a season-best 9:05.99 and ranked 62nd in the East. HPU also has multiple recruits who have run the 3,000-meter steeplechase, including Benji Szalai who has a career-best of 8:56.51.
"Jacob engaged in this race and ran well through about 1,200-meters," said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. "He could have finished better today but this was still a great accomplishment for the program to be competing here. The barrier is down, we had someone competing in the NCAA Championship.