Palenchar Sets HPU Women’s Track Pole Vault Record

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Freshman Alyssa Palenchar set a High Point University women’s track & field record in the pole vault, placing third, on Friday in the second day of the Big South Championship in Lynchburg, Va. Classmate Christine Rickert placed second in the javelin.

Palenchar cleared 3.65 meters (11-11.75), which was the same height as the top two finishers, VMI’s Kate Collins and Coastal Carolina’s Mary Lawrence. The finishing positions were determined by the number of misses by each competitor. The HPU record before this season was 3.45 meters (11-3.75) by Rachel Webb in 2011. Palenchar topped that with a height of 3.50 meters (11-5.75) at the Aggie Invitational last week, then reset it again on Friday.

Also in the pole vault, sophomore Catelyn Griffin and freshman Jill Marois both cleared 3.35 meters (10-11.75) to finish seventh and eighth, respectively. Griffin’s mark was a career best and sophomore Ashton Kirby also set a career best. Kirby cleared 3.05 meters (10-0) to place 12th.

Rickert threw the javelin 45.72 meters (150-0) to place second in her first Big South Outdoor Championship. She led most of the competition before Liberty’s Christina Mitchell heaved a distance of 46.57 meters (152-9) on her fifth throw, which was the winner.

Freshman Erica Herrmann placed 10th in the high jump with a height of 1.53 meters (5-0.25) to lead three Panthers in that event. Freshman Zoey Miller placed 10th in both the heptathlon and javelin.

In Friday’s preliminary heats, junior Colleen Hollowood advanced to Saturday’s finals in the 800-meter. She placed second in her heat and ran a time of 2:18.66 to place sixth and advance. She placed third in the 800-meter at the Big South Championship during the indoor season.

Also in Friday’s preliminaries, freshman Michelle Stolz took ninth in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:05.35, missing the final by 0.09. Freshman Katie Farina placed 13th in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:54.73, missing the final by 0.24. Emily Fischer placed 13th in the 400-meter with a time of 59.93.

On Thursday night, senior Kelsey Hunt and sophomore Lauren Blackwell placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 10,000-meter.

Weather affected the schedule all day on Friday. The women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, which was originally scheduled for 6:45 p.m., has been pushed to 10 p.m.

Through seven events and not including the steeplechase, the Panthers were tied for third with VMI with 28 points. Liberty led with 104 points and Coastal Carolina ranked second at 51.25. Gardner-Webb ranked fifth with 25.5 points and Charleston Southern ranked sixth at 21.5.

Saturday’s women’s events begin with the triple jump at noon. HPU junior Kaitlin Whittington will be competing. The first running event is the 4×100 relay at 12:30 p.m. and the meet concludes with the 4×400 relay at 4:25 p.m.