HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover women's track & field will search for its fourth indoor Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship this weekend when the league institutions meet on the campus of Defiance College.
SETTING THE SCENE: The Panthers, along with the other nine HCAC institutions, will compete at Defiance for the 2019 indoor conference championships. The meet is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, inside the George M. Smart Athletic Center.
CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY: With 2019 being the ninth edition of the HCAC Indoor Championships, the Panthers, who have never finished outside of the top four, will be looking for their fourth title. Hanover won the championship in 2012 and 2013, before its most recent victory in 2017. The Blue and Red have topped 100 team points on five occasions, including 130 points in their 2017 championship performance. Logging 86 points last winter, HC placed third overall.
PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The conference's preseason coaches poll tabbed the Panthers to place third again this winter. Hanover received one first place vote and 80 total points in the voting. Defending champion, Rose-Hulman, picked up six first place votes and 95 total points. Manchester and Bluffton also received first place votes in the preseason predictions, accumulating 84 and 73 points, respectively. The full preseason poll can be found here.
PROGRAM PERFORMANCE LIST UPDATES: Hanover has been updating the program's all-time top 10 performance lists this winter, as 25 marks have been added in 2019. Highlighting those efforts were school-record-setting performances by senior Erin Trimpe (New Palestine, Ind.) and sophomore Erin Browning (Greensburg, Ind.). Trimpe broke her own school record in the pole vault with a height of 3.66m, while Browning broke a six-year-old record in the weight throw, 15.31m.
HANOVER SHOWING STRONG FORM: The Blue and Red have been trending in the right direction all season long, placing third or better in all four of their scored meets. Hanover is coming off a first place finish last weekend at the 12-team DePauw Invitational, which featured seven schools from the HCAC. In their last outing, the Panthers tallied 15 top five finishes and five individual victories en route to 124.70 total points.
BOOMTOWN IS BOOMING: Hanover's throwers have been a strong point this season and are led by Erin Browning. The sophomore has the team's top shot put (11.62m) and weight throw (15.31m) marks, which also sit first and second in the HCAC, respectively. Along with a strong supporting cast, Browning, a two-time HCAC Field Athlete of the Week winner, and the rest of the Panther throwers combined for 42 points in last week's championship performance at DePauw. The sophomore has also topped 15 meters three times in the weight throw this winter.
Junior Eve Galbreath (Vevay, Ind.) has returned to competition recently and now finds herself ranked inside the top five in the HCAC for both throwing events this winter. Galrbeath is coming off a strong showing that saw her log a distance of 11.57m in the shot put and 14.00m in the weight throw. Her shot put mark is a personal-best. Galbreath also PR'd in the weight throw at last season's HCAC indoor meet, where her distance of 14.58m was good enough for second overall.
Mariah Grider (North Vernon, Ind.) has used her first season with the Blue and Red to move into the top 10 in school history in the shot put and weight throw. Grider currently ranks fifth in the weight toss with a mark of 12.77m, which is also fifth in the conference this winter. A distance of 10.57m in the shot put has her sixth all-time at HC and ninth in the HCAC.
HUNTER HEADLINES HARRIERS: Junior Kenna Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) will be busy this weekend as she is scheduled to compete in five individual events, including the 200 and 400m dashes, as well as all three jumping events. The two-time all-HCAC indoor selection will once again look to rack up points for the Panthers. Hunter is well-conditioned for the multi-event day, as she recently set a personal-record in the pentathlon with 2,995 points, good enough for second all-time at Hanover. The junior has PR'd in three of her five scheduled events this year, the high jump (1.56m), long jump (4.95m) and the 200m (27.43), which rank third, fourth and sixth in program history.
VAULTING TO THE TOP: A trio of pole vaulters will look to find success this weekend, including school-record holder Erin Trimpe. The senior has five top three finishes in six appearances this season, including two wins, and is coming off a 2018 outdoor campaign that saw her qualify for the national championships. Trimpe's top clearance of 3.66m leads the HCAC, ranks third in the Great Lakes region and is 19th in NCAA Division III. Classmate Emily Clancy (Columbus, Ind.) and sophomore Emily Jones (Pendleton, Ind.) sit second and third in school history with personal-best heights of 3.33m and 2.97m, respectively. Jones set her mark this season, while Clancy did so in 2018.
GOING THE DISTANCE: A trio of runners will headline the distance events this weekend. Freshman Arig Tong (Columbus, Ind.) has built off her NCAA Division III Cross Country National Championship appearance with top 10 school performances in the mile and 3000m run this winter. Tong's time of 5:29.53 in the mile won the opening meet of the season at Rose-Hulman and earned her HCAC Track Athlete of the Week honors.
Senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.) and junior Caitlyn Naghdi (Carmel, Ind.) are coming off strong performances last weekend. Hamilton posted one of the program's top 1000m times, 3:25.09, while Naghdi's personal record-setting time of 19:55.73 won the 5000m run. Hamilton is slated to compete in the 800m and one mile runs, and Naghdi returns to the 5K, along with 2018 HCAC cross country honorable mention selection, Amanda Stump (Garrett, Ind.).
FIRST-YEARS SET TO DEBUT: Three additional freshmen – Alexis Harsh (North Vernon, Ind.), Riley Austin (Richmond, Ind.) and Makenzie Carroll (Richmond, Ky.) – are set to debut at the HCAC championships this Saturday. Harsh, an HCAC Field Athlete of the Week award winner, has been HC's top long jumper and has a season-best mark of 5.17m. She also has one of the conference's fastest 60m dash times at 8.13 seconds. Austin is a part of a talented high jumping group, an event that will feature four athletes from Hanover, including school record holder Heaven Bigelow (Lexington, Ky.). Austin has a top height of 1.48m this winter and will also compete in the 200m dash and long jump. Carroll is set to enter both sprint relays and has been one of HC's fastest 400m runners this season.
Contact: Tyler Jester