*** both Women’s and Men’s recaps are covered ***
Panther Women Take Second At Big South Championships
LYNCHBURG, Va. – High Point University track and field set a number of records on Saturday both individually and as a team. Coming in second overall with a point total of 159, the Panthers recorded their highest Big South Championship finish and score in program history, coming just 3.5 points short of the first-place Hampton Pirates. Sophomore Famke Heinst was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Track Performer, winning a pair of events, in the mile and 3000m.
“We were right there to win, and that’s what you want. You want to have a chance to win the meet on the 4x400m, with four kids you can really count on, and we had four we could really count on,” said Head Coach Mike Esposito. “The kids really stepped up all weekend and it’s just going to make us hungrier for outdoors. I can’t say enough about my staff, and how they prepared these kids all fall. I wouldn’t trade this staff for anyone.”
Famke Heinst got things started for the Panthers, scoring an event win for the side in the one mile. Heinst finished in time of 5:05.68 just over two seconds ahead of teammate Franzi Jakobs (5:07.88). Junior Charis Dinger would score points for the Purple & White as well with her time of 5:19.65 coming in seventh among the field.
Heinst grabbed a second conference championship later in the day, her fourth of the past two years, running a 10:03.03 in the 3000m. Her performance was followed by teammate Zoe Geis in second (10:07.75), while Lindsey Ickes (10:11.06) and Julia Hellman (10:16.59) both ran PRs to finish third and sixth respectively in the same event.
Tying a program record in the 60m on Friday, freshman Leah Bolden ran another 7.60 to place herself in third overall, before setting another career best in the 200m final less than an hour later. Bolden’s 24.87 is HPU’s first-ever sub-25, making Bolden one of the top sprinters in the program’s history in her first year as a Panther.
“That’s the beauty of our sport, it’s all very measured and to be the best that’s ever been at the university is a neat thing,” said Coach Esposito. “I think the records are going to go pretty quickly here moving forward. That’s what we want as we get better. Leah [Bolden] is a special young lady. She would have liked to win the 60m, but she’s right there and hopefully this will motivate her.”
Nathalie Elliott claimed her second-straight Big South Championship in the pole vault after clearing 3.95m, just ahead of teammate Rachel Berndsen, whose 3.65m finished second and gave the junior a new personal best. The Panthers took three of top-four spots in the event, with Jessica Keys going fourth at 3.50m.
Jakobs had a big day in the 800m, posting a personal record of 2:15.88. The Panthers would take three of the top-four spots in the event, with Jakobs leading the way in second-place. Keaton Case and Camryn Harper finished close behind in third and fourth, as the latter posted a PR time of 2:16.41.
The Panthers’ point total of 159 came within four points of first-place finisher Hampton (162.5), beating third-place Charleston Southern (95) by over 60.
“I want to thank our administration for being up here,” said Esposito. “…We have great support. We want to win championships and this one hurts, but we’re going to get there.
1. Famke Heinst (5:05.68)
1. Famke Heinst (10:03.03)
2. Zoe Geis (10:07.75)
3. Lindsey Ickes (10:11.06) – PR
6. Julia Hellman (10:16.59) – PR
1. Nathalie Elliott (3.95m)
2. Rachel Berndsen (3.65m) – PR
4. Jessica Keys (3.50m)
2. Franzi Jakobs (2:15.88) – PR
3. Keaton Case (2:16.00)
4. Camryn Harper (2:16.41) – PR
3. Leah Bolden (7.60) Ties School Record
5. Leah Bolden (24.87) – PR
HPU Men’s Track Claims Third In Big South Championship
LYNCHBURG, Va. – High Point University track and field takes third at the Big South Championship after finishing the two-day meet with 130 points. The Panther men recorded three new indoor records on Saturday beating the fourth-place finish the team recorded in 2018. Finishing second in the 60m and fourth in the long jump, Panther first-year Daniel Bogle earned conference Freshman of the Year for his performance, while setting a new PR in the former.
“The kids really stepped up all weekend and it’s just going to make us hungrier for outdoors,” said Head Coach Mike Esposito. “I can’t say enough about my staff, and how they prepared these kids all fall. I wouldn’t trade this staff for anyone.”
Day two of the Big South Championships started with the final three events of the heptathlon, where the day belonged to junior Pablo Romero. Clearing 4.42m in the pole vault and running 8.58 in the hurdles, Romero clinched his third straight victory in the meet heptathlon with a new personal record of 2:43.67 in the 1000m. The Spaniard’s point total of 5,231 sets a new Panther program record, giving him the top-three totals for HPU all-time.
Gabriel Stainback and freshman Stephen Binkley each set new heptathlon career bests, with totals of 4,370 and 3,451 respectively. Stainback took third overall in the pole vault after clearing a height of 4.22m, while Binkley ran personal bests of 3:04.88 in the 1000m and 9.94 in the 60m hurdles.
After running a record setting 21.89 in Friday’s 200m prelim, freshman Paul Gore ran even faster on day two with his time of 21.70. Gore finished third overall with his record-setting time, in addition to taking fourth in the 60m earlier in the day (6.93). Fellow freshman Daniel Bogle led the Panthers with a second-place finish in the 60m, tying the PR he set in qualification the previous day at 6.88.
Holding the Panther program record in the weight throw, junior thrower Britton Mann further improved on the 15.92m he threw earlier this year with a toss of 16.15m. Mann holds his school’s best in both the weight throw and the shot put (15.21m), with his performance on Saturday finishing sixth overall.
“That’s the beauty of our sport, it’s all very measured and to be the best that’s ever been at the university is a neat thing,” said Esposito. “I think the records are going to go pretty quickly here moving forward, that’s what we want as we get better…Britton is Britton. He works his butt off in the weight room. He’s gotten better every year and that’s what you want.”
Over in the mile, Hocine Bouchrak crossed the finish line at a pace of 4:09.99 to take third in the field. Bouchrak claimed a podium spot in the 3000m as well with his time of 8:37.74, while freshman Spencer Smucker set a new career best at 8:49.76.
1.Pablo Romero (5,231) – SR & PR
2.Gabriel Stainback (4,730) – PR
6. Stephen Binkley (3,451) – PR
1. Pablo Romero (2:43.67) – PR
2. Stephen Binkley (3:04.88) – PR
2. Pablo Romero (8.58)
6. Stephen Binkley (9.94) – PR
Hept. Pole Vault
2. Pablo Romero (4.42m)
3. Gabriel Stainback (4.22m)
2. Daniel Bogle (6.88) – Ties PR
4. Paul Gore (6.93)
3. Paul Gore (21.87) – SR & PR
3. Hocine Bouchrak (4:09.99)
3. Hocine Bouchrak (8:37.74)
8. Spencer Smucker (8:49.76) – PR
4. Daniel Bogle (7.13m)
6. Britton Mann (16.15m) – SR & PR