HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover College women's track & field team will be in search of its fifth championship when they trek to Cincinnati this weekend for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships.
SETTING THE SCENE: The 10-team championship meet, hosted by Mt. St. Joseph, will take place at the Mount Sports Complex Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27. Competition is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. and 10 a.m., respectively.
HCAC HISTORY: Hanover has won four HCAC outdoor titles since the league's inception in the 1998-99 season. The Panthers have placed inside the top three in each meet since 2011, highlighted by their championship performances in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2017. Last spring, HC tallied 97.5 points to finish third overall. The Blue and Red are coming off a second-place showing at the 2019 indoor HCAC championships, a day that saw the team record 131.50 points.
PANTHERS IN THE POLLS: The USTFCCCA has recently created a conference index ratings system, similar to its regional ratings index, and has the Panthers atop the league rankings with a score of 1,236.07 points. Rose-Hulman (1,024.75), the defending HCAC champions, are the only other school over 1,000 points. Hanover is also the highest ranked HCAC school in the regional rankings, placing 13th in the Great Lakes. The league coaches also projected the Panthers to a second place finish in the preseason poll, as HC recorded 86 points and one first place vote.
#EVENTSQUAD RANKINGS: The Blue and Red have three event groups ranked inside the top 35 nationally, led by the pole vault. Seniors Erin Trimpe (New Palestine, Ind.) and Emily Clancy (Columbus, Ind.) have been key to HC's success in the pole vault the past four years and will look to lead the way again this weekend. Trimpe ranks first in the HCAC and 16th nationally with a school-record height of 3.73m this spring. Clancy also set a personal record earlier this season, 3.50m, which is fourth-best in the conference and 45th across Division III.
A quintet of athletes are scheduled to enter the high jump this weekend for HC, an event group that ranks 21st nationally. Junior Kenna Hunter (Mooresville, Ind.) has the team's best height this season, 1.80m, which ranks fourth in school history. Other top 10 all-time performers at Hanover, junior Haley Huddleston (Henryville, Ind.), sophomore Heaven Bigelow (Lexington, Ky.) and freshman Riley Austin (Richmond, Ind.), are all on the performance list for the HCAC Championships as well.
The hammer throw group ranks 31st in Division III and is led by sophomore Erin Browning (Greensburg, Ind.) and her school-record toss of 50.84m. Browning ranks 18th nationally as an individual in the event. Freshman Mariah Grider (North Vernon, Ind.) gives HC two inside the top five of the HCAC this spring, as her season-best distance of 42.97m ranks fourth all-time at Hanover and fourth in the league. Grider will be joined by senior Hannah Gregory (Columbus, Ind.) in the javelin throw, Gregory is among the HCAC leaders in both the hammer and javelin throws in 2019.
GOING THE DISTANCE: The distance core for Hanover is led by four runners. Senior Amanda Stump (Garrett, Ind.) and junior Ariel Barlow (Francesville, Ind.) will both compete in the 3000m steeplechase, an event Barlow has broken the school record in the last two times out at 11:32.15. Stump will also compete in the 10K, where she is seeded third at 42:07.31.
Barlow is joined by freshman Arig Tong (Columbus, Ind.) in the 5K. Tong has the conference's fastest time in 2019, 18:05.10. The freshman has placed inside the top four in all six of her races this spring and will also run the 1500m run this weekend.
Senior Morgan Hamilton (Connersville, Ind.) is scheduled for the 800 and 1500m runs this weekend. Hamilton has season-best times of 2:28.47 and 5:00.73 in the events, respectively, both of which rank among the top 10 in the HCAC.
HURDLE CREW: Hunter, along with junior Michelle Witt (Carmel, Ind.) and sophomore Olivia Hall (Lexington, Ky.) have been HC's leaders in the hurdles this season. Hunter has the team's top times in both distances, the 100m (16.06) and the 400m (1:05.91). Her 100m hurdle time is a personal record and she enters the 400m hurdles as the two-time defending HCAC champion.
Witt PR'd at last season's HCAC championships with a time of 16.44 in the 100m hurdles and has a season-best time of 17.03. Hall set a personal record in the shorter distance last time out, 17.30 seconds, and is second on the squad in the 400m distance, 1:10.75.
FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS: Along with Austin and Grider, freshmen Makenzie Carroll (Richmond, Ky.) and Alexis Harsh (North Vernon, Ind.) will all look to make an impact in their debut at the outdoor HCAC Championships. Carroll is seeded third in the 400m dash, having a season-best mark of 1:01.20. Harsh is among the conference's best in the 100m (13.17 seconds) and the long jump (5.20m). The duo, as well as Austin will all compete in the 200m dash this weekend,
Contact: Tyler Jester