The High Point University women’s track & field team competed in the Johnson C. Smith Invitational on Saturday, getting a win from freshman Leah Anne Wirfel in the 5,000-meter. Sophomore Kaitlin Whittington was runner-up in the triple jump.
“We were really trying to prepare for the Big South Championship next week and we accomplished some good things on Saturday,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “We had some good performances in the distance events, it was good to see Leah Anne get the win in the 5K. It was an all-around good performance for our team.”
Wirfel ran her first collegiate 5,000-meter and won the event in 18:31.92. Runner-up Livia Mahaffie of UNC Pembroke finished in 18:35.61. HPU freshman Krista Willard placed fourth in 19:24.03.
Whittington posted her second-best mark of the season to earn runner-up honors in the triple jump. She jumped 5.18 meters (36-1.5) and was just behind the winner, Zorayda Rodriguez of Barton, who jumped 11.04 meters (36-2.75). Whittington posted a season-best in the long jump, getting a distance of 5.18 meters (17-0) to place sixth. Two others competed in the long jump: sophomore Megan Lowery placed 16th with a jump of 4.57 meters (15-0) and senior Shamia Brown made her debut in the event, jumping 4.43 meters (14-6.5). Brown got that distance on her first attempt and fouled on her next two tries.
In the 1,500-meter, HPU had four runners under five minutes. Sophomores Audrey Malloy and Kayleigh Perry lead the charge placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Malloy ran a season-best 4:44.00 and Perry finished in a season-best 4:45.24. Senior Kelsey Fraser placed seventh in 4:50.60 and junior Kelsey Paine took eighth in 4:55.46. Senior Kelsey Hinchliffe placed 14th with a time of 5:12.05.
In the shorter distances, freshman Sarah Dorrell was the top HPU finisher as she took eighth in the 800-meter with a season-best time of 2:19.52. Brown placed 13th in the 200-meter in a season-best 25.80 and Emily Fischer and Shannon Corbett placed 45th and 46th into a strong headwind. Corbett placed 23rd in the 400-meter in a season-best 1:00.19, just ahead of Fischer at 1:00.56. Sophomore Colleen Hollowood placed 18th in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:09.67.
HPU’s 4×100 relay team of Brown, Corbett, Fischer and Lowery placed 10th 50.46 seconds.
Finishing off the field events for the Panthers, senior Carli Antor placed third in the pole vault with a season-best height of 3.04 meters (9-11.75). Freshman Ashton Kirby placed sixth with a height of 2.74 meters (8-11.75). Junior Lynee Pina was just off her season-best in the discus, placing fifth with a throw of 36.54 meters (119-10) on her final attempt.
It was the final chance for the Panthers to get ready for next week’s Big South Championship. The meet will be held April 19-21 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. High Point finished fourth last year.