Photo Credit: Brendan Maloney
Austin, Tex. - Senior Hope Bender finished up her first day of the women's heptathlon at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a jaw dropping school record performance in the 200m to finish off day three of the championships, besting Jennifer Carey's 23.69 record performance all the way back in 2012 with a 23.63 (+0.7 m/s) clocking. She'd cap off her first day of the heptathlon with a total scoring of 3507 points, good enough for seventh overall in an NCAA First Team All-American spot with three events left in the heptathlon scheduled for Saturday.
"Hope has put herself in a great position to set a personal best score," said Interim Head Track and Field Coach Gray Horn. "If she does that, then that's all we can ask for. The placing will take care of itself. We just need to continue to control what we can control. The second place finish in the 200m for a school record was certainly special."
Heptathlon Day One
A 13.48 (+0.8 m/s) clocking in the 100m hurdles would give Bender an opportune start to the day, taking fifth overall in that event to net 1053 points. The senior would then clear 1.66m (5' 5.25") in the high jump about an hour later to keep things rolling, adding another 806 points to her total. A less than ideal series in the shot put would unfortunately have Bender sliding back in the overall score totals as she'd only manage an 11.55m (37' 10.75") throw out of her three attempts for 631 points, but what would come next would completely change the script for the seasoned Gaucho. After a nerve-wracking three and a half hour wait between events, a determined Hope Bender would completely slingshot off the curve in the 200m, flying past the majority of the field well before the finish line to finish second overall and chop off 0.4 seconds off her previous wind legal best of 24.03. After clocking 24.03 for the event three meets in a row this year heading into the national meet, Bender finally sets a new personal best to catapult herself from No. 4 on the UCSB All-Time List to taking down Jennifer Carey's school record, her third school record overall at UCSB including the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles.