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Bendik Places 16th in NCAA Women's Hammer
Liberty redshirt senior Melinda Bendik placed 16th in the women's hammer final, Thursday afternoon at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium. Bendik, whose top throw reached 192-7, becomes Liberty's first women's track & field All-American since 2002.
The official All-America classifications will be announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday, but Bendik is guaranteed All-America status by virtue of her qualification to Des Moines.
Liberty's first women's thrower ever to qualify for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Bendik got off to a bit of a rough start, committing a foot foul on her opening attempt.
"Today was tough," Bendik stated. "It was a struggle. I came out and did some good things on the second throw, but just fell back off the finish. That's been my problem the last two weeks, not being able to put the finish together."
Bendik's aforementioned second throw landed at 192-7, putting her in a tie for 16th place with South Alabama senior Latifah Johnson. The Odessa, Texas native then broke the tie with her third attempt. Bendik's 189-11 mark was superior to the second best effort of Johnson, which reached 185-9.
Thursday's competition wrapped up Bendik's impressive senior campaign. She won the Big South and ECAC women's hammer titles, before pushing the Liberty women's hammer record all the way up to 202-7 at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet.
"I've had a very successful season overall, and the Lord has blessed me beyond what I could ever imagine," reflected Bendik. "I'm very happy with how the season went. You always wish you could do better, but I can't be greedy. God's been good."
On Friday, Kolby Shepherd will pole vault at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships for the second consecutive year. His competition will begin at 5:30 p.m. Eastern inside Drake Stadium.