MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Senior Manika Gamble won the 400-meter hurdles for the fourth season in a row to lead the High Point University women’s track & field team at the Big South Championship on Saturday at Doug Shaw Stadium in Myrtle Beach, S.C. She also took second in the 100-meter hurdles as the Panthers finished eighth.
“This was another outstanding Big South Championship for Manika,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “She really came through for us today after she has had some minor injuries and she continued to prove she’s one of the best in the history of the conference. Kaitlin Whittington had a good performance today in the triple jump even though she was just outside the scoring. Shamia Brown was really fun over the last few weeks, I wish we had more time with her. Unfortunately our distance events were pretty disappointing. Hopefully we can use that as motivation to improve as we move forward.”
After a nearly five-hour weather delay, Gamble took to the track and blew away the competition in the 400-meter hurdles, winning her fourth title in that event with a time of 59.56 on the rain-soaked track. The runner-up was Melanie Sims from Liberty in a time of 1:02.97. Earlier in the afternoon, Gamble ran a career best and HPU-record time of 13.85 to place second in the 100-meter hurdles. Charleston Southern’s Mulern Jean got out of the blocks quicker and won the race in a meet-record time of 13.45.
Gamble finished the meet running the third leg of HPU’s 4×400 relay. Whittington led it off and handed off to Brown, Gamble ran the third leg and sophomore Shannon Corbett anchored the relay to a time of 3:56.98, which was good for fifth place. High Point’s 4×100 relay of Whittington, Brown, sophomore Megan Lowery and freshman Emily Fischer placed seventh with a time of 49.47.
Sophomore Kayleigh Perry placed seventh in the 5,000-meter for the Panthers, running a time of 17:59.26. Sophomore Audrey Malloy placed 12th in 18:07.58, junior Kelsey Hunt placed 14th in 18:15.40 and freshman Lauren Blackwell placed 19th in 18:32.78.
Whittington had her best collegiate performance in the triple jump with a leap of 11.58 meters (38-0). She placed ninth and was just four inches behind Coastal Carolina’s Erica Peake, who leapt 11.68 meters (38-4). Junior Lynee Pina was the first Panther in competition on Saturday, beginning the day with an 18th-place finish in the discus with a throw of 36.85 meters (120-11).
Pina led off the meet with an eighth-place finish in the javelin on Thursday. That evening, Hunt made her debut and placed sixth in the 10,000-meter in a time of 37:39.42 for the Panthers. On Friday, Malloy placed fourth and senior Kelsey Fraser took sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Coastal Carolina won the meet with 234 points as runner-up Liberty scored 214.5. Charleston Southern placed third with 84 points followed by Gardner-Webb (66), Campbell (48), Winthrop (42) and UNC Asheville (41). The Panthers were eight with 38 points and came in ahead of VMI (27) and Radford (22.5).
Several Panthers will continue competing in the outdoor track & field season. The next meet on High Point’s schedule is the Duke Twilight meet on May 6. Gamble is in great position to qualify for the first round of the NCAA Championship.