HPU Women’s Track Fifth At Big South Championship

BLACKSBURG, Va. — The High Point University women’s track & field team finished fifth in the Big South Indoor Championship on Friday and Saturday in Blacksburg, Va. It was HPU’s best indoor finish in five seasons and the Panthers recorded a pair of runner-up finishes.

“We’re improving in a lot of areas and we have a lot of momentum right now,” said HPU head coach Mike Esposito. “We had a great race in the women’s DMR and we scored 15-1/2 points in the pole vault, two strong events for us. With the pieces we have, we’re going to be better in the outdoor season.”

Coastal Carolina won the championship with 203 points followed by Liberty (148), Campbell (77) and Charleston Southern (57). High Point placed fifth with 41.5 points followed by Radford (40), Gardner-Webb (27.5), Winthrop (25), VMI (23) and UNC Asheville (21).

High Point’s distance medley relay team of Katie Farina, Emily Fischer, Audrey Malloy and Natalia Ocasio placed second with an HPU record time of 12:04.42. Ocasio was the Panthers’ anchor leg and was just edged at the finish by Liberty’s Katie Russo. The previous HPU record was 12:07.18 in 2008. The Flames won the race in 12:04.07.

In the pole vault, sophomores Jill Marois and Alyssa Palenchar finished second and third, respectively, each clearing 3.65 meters (11-11.75) to tie the HPU record. HPU’s Catelyn Griffin placed seventh with a height of 3.50 meters (11-5.75).

The Panthers’ 4×400 relay team of Emily De Lena, Fischer, Lilla Lorand and Sara Katherine Kirkpatrick finished off the meet with a sixth-place finish. They combined for an HPU-record time of 3:54.78, coming in just under the previous indoor record of 3:54.80 set at the Big South Championship in 2008.

Malloy, a senior, placed fifth in the 800-meter with a time of 2:16.66. Sophomore Julia Zautcke was fifth in the 5,000-meter in 17:55.77 and seventh in the 3,000-meter with a time of 10:15.67. After miscounting her laps in the 5K, Zautcke struggled to the finish but still took fifth.

Farina took fifth in the mile with a time of 5:02.54 and freshman Cozette Collin also scored, placing eighth with a time of 5:06.96. Kirkpatrick placed eighth in the heptathlon with a score of 3,017 points.