COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In the 40-year history of the Ohio Valley Conference's track and field women's championships, no athlete has thrown the javelin farther than Belmont University's Karly Hibbard did on Friday.
Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) unleashed a personal, school and OVC Championships record throw of 47.66 meters (156 feet, 4 inches) as she and teammate Maja Gustafsson went gold and silver in the javelin at Tennessee Tech. The duo picked up 18 team points and Belmont finished Day 2 of the meet in sixth place with 30 points overall.
Hibbard's throw is the farthest in meet history dating back to the conference's first women's championships in 1979. The previous meet best came in 2010 when Samantha Espiricueta of Southeast Missouri threw 46.28 (151-10). The previous Belmont record was 47.12 (154-7), which Hibbard also threw, in 2016.
The junior Bruin bested the field by more than six meters Friday and actually had three throws that would have claimed conference gold, including her leadoff toss of 46.98.
Karly Hibbard broke a personal, school AND OVC Championship record with a javelin throw of 47.66 meters!!!— Belmont Runners (@BelmontXCTF) May 12, 2018
That's a monster toss by the Bruin who (of course) took gold!#ItsBruinTime pic.twitter.com/QWtmsYfa5k
"I needed that; that was a good confidence booster for sure," she said of her opening throw, "but I definitely didn't want to let my guard down too much.
"I knew (the later throw) it was a PR for me and another school record and a blessing in itself, but to get that (OVC record) was just, wow. Thank you Lord," Hibbard continued.
Based on results entering the week of conference meets, Hibbard's 47.66-meter throw would rank 26th in the NCAA East Region. The top 48 marks in each region qualify for the NCAA Preliminary Championships later this month.
Gustafsson (Västerås, Sweden), a freshman, covered 41.53 (136-3) on her final throw to rocket up the leaderboard and sneak into second place. She was locked into at least fourth place before clearing 41 meters, which helped her ignore any pressure on the final throw, she said.
"Take it slow, be calm and have fun," Gustafsson said. "It's the last one of this season, my first season here. Let's just have fun and it went pretty well."
Hibbard and Gustafsson were Belmont's only point scorers Friday, though Caroline Pruitt (Southlake, Texas) is guaranteed some points on Saturday. The freshman was fifth in the preliminaries of the 400-meter hurdles in 1:04.98 to qualify for the finals on the meet's third and final day.
"Caroline Pruitt, she's had a long year as a freshman, but she came back and her making the finals was huge," said Belmont Associate Head Track Coach Cameron Harvey. "I was really happy with that race."
Action resumes back at Tech's Tucker Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m.
DAY 2 TEAM RESULTS
1. SIU Edwardsville 39
2. Jacksonville State 37.5
3. Eastern Illinois 35
4. Southeast Missouri 34
5. Tennessee Tech 33
6. Belmont 30
t-7. Murray State 29
t-7. Eastern Kentucky 29
9. Tennessee State 23
10. Austin Peay 22.5
BELMONT WOMEN'S RESULTS
Heptathlon (7 of 7 events)
12. Kelsey Kay Herring, fr. — 3,797 points
(LJ: 5.17m*, 9th; Jav: 14.98m, 13th; 800: 2:32.04, 5th)
12. Payton Barlow, fr. — 57.50
17. Katrina Quigley, so. — 59.08*
18. Kiera Weems, sr. — 2:22.37
400 hurdles (prelims)
5. Caroline Pruitt, fr. — 1:04.98
9. Hannah Beth Moorhouse, jr. — 1.65m (5-5)
10. Jeanette Morley, fr. — 1.65m (5-5)
1. Karly Hibbard, jr. — 47.66m (156-4)*^
2. Maja Gustafsson, fr. — 41.53m (136-3)
15. Grace Maniscalco, fr. — 29.59m (97-1)
^School and OVC Championships record