HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s indoor track & field team was picked third in the 2015-16 Big South preseason poll released Tuesday.
High Point received 59 points to garner the third-place prediction. Coastal Carolina (seven first place votes) was picked first with 79 points, followed by Liberty with 74 (two first place votes). After HPU, Campbell (50) and Radford (42) took the fourth and fifth positions. Charleston Southern (33), Gardner-Webb (30), Winthrop (24) and UNC Asheville (14) rounded out the poll.
HPU returns 26 letter winners from last year’s indoor squad that finished fourth at the Big South Championship.
The Purple & White will be led by a strong pole vault unit that went 1-2 at last year’s Big South Championship. 2015 vault champion Jill Marois is back, along with second-place finisher Alyssa Palenchar. Palenchar holds the HPU indoor school record in the vault (3.72m, 12-2.5), while Palenchar and Marois hold the outdoor record (3.81m, 12-6).
HPU also will field a strong throws unit, anchored by senior Jamie Schnuck, who broke her own school record in the weight throw on Saturday in the season opener at JDL. Schnuck will be joined by sophomore Makenzi Holmes-DiGiovine, who comes to HPU after spending her first season at Auburn University.
Fresh off her 2015 Big South outdoor title in the 3000m steeplechase, junior Natalia Ocasio will anchor HPU’s distance squad and will be bolstered by fellow junior Cozette Collin and senior Katie Farina.
HPU also returns an experienced group of hurdlers, including senior Lilla Lorand and sophomores Mikaela Campbell, Haley Cianfarini, Ashlynn Schiro and CeAnna Soper.
The Panther jumps contingent includes sophomores Kela Seals and Alyn Carr, junior Amanda Gregory and senior Erica Herrmann, while junior Erika Bridges and senior Sara Katherine Kirkpatrick will suit up for the Purple & White in the pentathlon.
HPU opened the 2015-16 season at the JDL Kickoff Classic Saturday and will return to action Jan. 16 at the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem.
2015-16 Women’s Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
1. Coastal Carolina (7) – 79
2. Liberty (2) – 74
3. High Point – 59
4. Campbell – 50
5. Radford – 42
6. Charleston Southern – 33
7. Gardner-Webb – 30
8. Winthrop – 24
9. UNC Asheville – 14