Seattle, Wash. - Senior Hope Bender stole the show this weekend at the UW Invitational by winning the women's pentathlon in a new personal best of 4220 points, putting her at No. 3 in the NCAA for Division 1 this year. After winning the pentathlon last year at this invitational, she was able to outdo her 2018 performance by a wide margin, improving by 336 points. Within the pentathlon, she set two new personal bests in the high jump at 1.70m (5' 7") and the long jump at 5.90m (19' 4 1/4"), a mark that would've tied for first in the open women's long jump competition.
"Hope had an unconventional performance," remarked Interim Track and Field Head Coach Gray Horn. "Her highlights within the pentathlon didn't include her forte events, but rather the jumps. This is a big step forward for her and puts her one step closer to the elite. She will be fun to watch as always this year."
Though UC Santa Barbara doesn't keep track of indoor records, Bender's performance this weekend was a mere 24 points off of UCSB alumni and 2016 Olympian Barbara Nwaba's pentathlon mark of 4244 that she set all the way back in 2012 at the same meet; Nwaba would go on to place fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pentathlon and second at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon later that year.
Other Event Highlights
Junior Astrid Rosvall was able to take the win in heat one of the women's mile with a time of 4:53.71. Taking the lead with just over 400 meters left, she would put on a late charge in the final meters even after being overtaken with 100 meters to go to claim the victory by merely .25 seconds.
Junior Josephine Graeber took sixth overall in the women's long jump with a mark of 5.61m (18' 5"). This chalks up as her second farthest jump indoors after her 5.78m jump from last week's Dr. Martin Luther King Invitational.
Senior Cassidy Peng set two indoor bests in both the pole vault and triple jump. The multi-faceted jumper put up marks of 3.71m (12' 2") in the pole vault to finish tenth overall and 11.58m (38' 0") in the triple jump to finish seventh.
"We learned quite a bit about our team this weekend," said Coach Horn in regards to the overall team performance. "Our strengths and weaknesses are evident, and the next few weeks will be crucial in finding our stride leading into the outdoor season."
With the conclusion of the UW Invitational, the Gauchos will head back to Santa Barbara for some hard training before opening up for the outdoor season at the Gaucho Round-Up, the first Round-Up on the Pauley Track since 2009. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.