Santa Barbara, Calif. - With the UC Santa Barbara outdoor track and field season starting to pick up with this weekend's UC Riverside/Cal Poly Tri Meet, a sliver of indoor action remains to be contested as junior Hope Bender will be flying out to College Station, Texas this tomorrow to compete at the Division 1 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Texas A&M this Friday. The lone Gaucho was on a mission this past February with two pentathlon efforts already under her belt, and now she will head into this weekend to contest her first NCAA National Meet in her athletic career at UCSB.
The pentathlon will commence at 12:15 pm starting with the 60m hurdles and then concluding at 5:30 pm with the 800m.
Road to First Team All-American Status
Hope currently stands at No. 12 on the NCAA descending order list for the pentathlon with her score of 4149 points set at the USATF Indoor Championships back in mid-February, with the top 16 on that list qualifying into the national meet. In order to achieve All-American status, Hope will need achieve a high enough scoring to place within the top 8 at the championship meet on Friday. From the current descending order list, a mere 57 points separate the 8th and 16th seeds, so the battle for a top 8 placing will be hotly contested to say the least. With Hope's current trajectory however, which included three new personal bests en route to her 4149 point scoring, she has put herself in prime position to be in the conversation for All-American status.
"We're very proud of how the season has gone so far," said Assistant Coach Gray Horn on Hope's progression throughout her indoor campaign. "She's stepped out of her comfort zone in a lot of ways and we've seen her shine because of it. Our attitude going into this is that it's just another meet. We're not gonna overhype it. We're just gonna take care of business as usual."