• Junior Christine Rickert won her second-straight Big South javelin title and broke a conference record which had stood since 2004 with her throw of 49.53m (162-6)
• Junior Julia Zautcke picked up three points for HPU with a sixth-place finish in the 10000m run (37:52.48)
• Sophomore Amanda Gregory set a new PR while placing seventh in the long jump (5.60m, 18-4.5)
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Junior thrower Christine Rickert took down an 11-year conference record while claiming her second-straight league crown to lead the High Point University women’s track & field team on day one at the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships inside Vert Stadium.
Rickert’s throw was the culmination of an outstanding 2015 regular season campaign for the Lancaster, Pa., native. The victorious mark of 49.53 (162-6) set a new HPU school record and broke the previous Big South Conference record of 48.98m (160-8) set in 2004 by Crystal Goure of UNC Asheville.
The impressive throw also broke the Big South meet record posted by Rickert in 2014 (47.22m, 154-11) and the HPU facility record, set earlier this season by the junior (48.32m, 158-6). The victory marked Rickert’s second straight Big South title and her fifth javelin title of the 2015 campaign.
“Chrissy’s been working very hard and her attention to detail is fantastic,” associate head coach Eric Dudley said. “She’s taken the risk to change some fundamentals elements in how she approaches the delivery position, which changes the throw. It’s been difficult, but she’s embraced her growth opportunity this season which has not only led to further throws but also greater consistency. It’s excellent to see and will help her heading into NCAA Regional competition in a couple weeks.”
In addition to Rickert’s performance, freshman Mackenzie Vermette just missed out scoring in her first league meet, as the Enfield, Conn., native placed ninth with a throw of 35.35m (115-11).
The 10 points from Rickert’s victory helped the Panthers claim third place after one day of competition. Liberty leads the meet with 58 points while the Panthers sit in third with 17.
Other highlights for HPU on day one of competition included junior Julia Zautcke, who picked up three points with a sixth-place finish in the 10000m run. Zautcke crossed the finish line in a season best time of 37:52.48. Senior Krista Willard placed seventh (38:05.54) in her final collegiate race and junior Kasey Spence was 13th in 39:43.04.
Sophomore Amanda Gregory eclipsed her long jump PR by .11m while surging to a seventh place finish in the event. Her mark of 5.60m (18-4.5) picked up two points for the Panthers. Sophomore Alyn Carr finished 12th with a jump of 5.27m (17-3.5).
Through four events in the heptathlon, sophomore Erika Bridges sits in eighth place with 2427 points and junior Sara Katherine Kirkpatrick is 11th with 2274 points. Bridges’ best day one finish came in the high jump where she posted a jump of 1.58m (5-2.25) to place second.
All four Panthers that raced in the preliminaries of the 1500m run advanced to Saturday’s final. Sophomore Natalia Ocasio earned a second-place finish in the prelim (4:39.31) while freshman Kelly Hayes finished third (4:39.57) and eclipsed her previous collegiate PR by 13 seconds. Sophomore Cozette Collin placed eighth (4:45.12) and junior Katie Farina was 12th (4:46.55).
Freshman Ashlynn Schiro finished 13th in the prelims of the 400m hurdles (1:04.31) while fellow freshman CeAnna Soper placed 14th (1:05.05).
The Panthers continue competition at the 2015 Big South Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday inside Vert Stadium.