ROCK HILL, S.C. — The High Point University women’s cross-country team won its fourth straight Big South Cross-Country title on Friday, (March 5th) as the Panthers placed first with a team score of 29. Senior Famke Heinst won her fourth straight individual Big South title which this year automatically qualifies her for the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championship in Stillwater, Ok. Freshman Ashley Jones was the top freshman finisher in the race as she placed ninth earning Big South Freshman of the Year honors.
“I don’t want to call it a relief but I will say the last three weeks preparing for this championship have been tumultuous for this team not in any existential way, but we were tested from a culture standpoint and an athletic performance standpoint. The one thing we talked about as a group was not just being resilient through those bumps but being antifragile meaning that through adversity we don’t just stay the same form but we actually get stronger. Today was a celebration of that antifragility that we have, the ladies all showed up with a purpose and took care of business”, Head Coach Remy Tamer said after coaching the Panthers to their fourth title in as many years.
High Point saw five athletes earn all-conference honors as they all finished in the top twelve. Heinst is going to Stillwater after a 17:09.1 first-place finish. Heinst finished 19 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Lindsey Ickes was the third overall finisher and the second Panther to finish as she recorded a time of 17:35.9. Olive Allen placed seventh with a time of 18:00.4 while Jones was the first freshman to cross the finish line in the race earning her freshman of the year honors. Camryn Harper was the final Panther top twelve finisher.
Sydney Bagus, Julia Hellman, and Tatum Castillo rounded out the top twenty as HPU had eight runners finish in the top 16 of the race.
The Panther team win today marks HPU’s fourth straight Big South Championship and seventh overall.
Heinst makes history with the automatic qualifying win as she becomes the first High Point runner to ever qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
“COVID has been an absolute tragedy however there have been some silver linings in some cases and in this case the conference champion qualifies automatically for an NCAA bid”, Coach Tamer said about Heinst’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. “This is her first time getting to compete there. We believe she is an athlete that is capable of shaking things up we just needed to get her there. Now that she is going to be on the line we got nothing to lose. I think we could see some pretty special things from Famke in Stillwater.”
Heinst will be in action again on Sunday as she will be representing HPU on Monday, March 15th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The race will be televised on ESPNU and will start at 12:50 PM EST.