Austin, Tex. - Senior Hope Bender would finally close out her career as a UC Santa Barbara Gaucho this evening by finishing fourth place in the women's heptathlon at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by the University of Texas. Sitting in seventh place overall after day one, she'd maintain a steady grasp of that spot throughout the final day of competition and rise all the way to fourth in the final event, the 800m, with a new personal best and UCSB No. 8 All-Time clocking of 2:10.10. She would finish the heptathlon with a total score at 5955 points, also a personal best by 15 points.
Having some issues on the board in the individual long jump earlier this week on Thursday, Bender would look much better this time around by soaring all the way out to 6.03m (19' 9.5") on her second attempt, securing 859 points to finish fifth in that event. For the javelin, the senior would keep her scorecard within a steady range of those ahead of her by landing a mark of 37.83m (124' 1") on her first attempt for 626 points, improving no further in her subsequent attempts as she awaited the 800m.
A near four and a half hour wait between the javelin and the two lap affair would give Hope a significant amount of rest that would prove to be extremely beneficial, as Hope would immediately take the lead from the gun and pass through the first 400m in 64.80. By 500m, UC Davis senior and Big West Conference rival Erin Beattie would surpass Bender onto the backstretch along with Kansas State's Lauren Taubert, both looking to pull away heading into the final 200m. However, with 100m left, Bender would swing wide into lane two and slowly pull away from the field to take the win in the 800m, scoring 963 points to complete her 5955 point total and earn Bender First Team All-American honors. She now possesses First Team All-American finishes both indoors and outdoors for a Division One NCAA Championship meet.