HPU’s Marois makes history at Penn State National Track & Field

• Senior Jill Marois topped the HPU school record in the pole vault while finishing second at Penn State (3.85m, 12-7.5)
• Senior Alyssa Palenchar was fourth in the vault with a mark of 3.70m (12-1.5)
• Junior Natalia Ocasio set a new collegiate PR while finishing second in the mile run (5:02.92)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Senior Jill Marois shined on a big-time collegiate stage Saturday, setting a new High Point University school record in the pole vault to lead the women’s track & field team at the prestigious Penn State National Invitational.

Marois converted an excellent mark of 3.85m (12-7.5) to break the High Point school record set last season by senior teammate Alyssa Palenchar (3.72m, 12-2.5). Marois just missed claiming victory in the event, as she cleared the 3.85m bar an attempt after champion Rebecca Pietsch of Akron.

Palenchar also performed well for the Purple & White, placing fourth in the vault with a mark of 3.70m (12-1.5).

“We had been jumping very well heading into Virginia Tech last week which was why we were so disappointed the meet was cancelled,” assistant coach Scott Houston said. “But Jill and Alyssa have been working hard and have tuned elements up in their full approaches. Today, they had a good gameplan for a long competiiton that included 21 participants. They stayed meet prepared and jumped very well for their first competition from full approach this season. They both had excellent chances on their last bar, but it was tough after three hours of competition. I was pleased with their performance today.”

Junior distance runner Natalia Ocasio also competed at Penn State for the Panthers and put together a great race in Happy Valley. The Mount Laurel, N.J., native finished second in the mile run in a collegiate PR of 5:02.92. She trailed winner Lisa Bennatan of the Nittany Lions by just two tenths of a second.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Panthers also sent a group of student-athletes to the Camel City Classic at the JDL Fast Track Saturday.

HPU’s distance medley relay team finished 10th in the event with a time of 13.10.86. The unit included seniors Erika Peoples and Sara Katherine Kirkpatrick and freshmen Jasmyn Gillespie and Janelle Rothacker.

In throws action, redshirt sophomore Makenzi Holmes-DiGiovine finished 21st in the shot put with a throw of 11.30m (37-1).

On the jumps circuit, freshman Arianna Coleman finished 29th in the triple jump with a mark of 10.48m (34-4.75).

A quartet of Panthers raced in the 200m dash. Freshman Arianna Coleman finished 47th in 27.18 seconds while sophomore Ashlynn Schiro was 65th in 27.89. Freshman Emmy Geis (28.10) and junior Alyn Carr (28.95) finished 68th and 75th, respectively.

High Point’s 4x400m relay team of Schiro, Geis, Coleman and junior Erika Bridges finished 15th in 4:14.14.

HPU returns to action next weekend (Feb. 5-6) at the ETSU Buccaneer Invitational in Johnson City, Tenn.