By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Samantha Richner of Hanson will be ending her Bridgewater State University track and field career at the NCAA Division 3 Championships this week.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High graduate has once again qualified in the high jump and will compete Friday morning in Geneva, Ohio.
Richner will be joined by teammate Ellie Bucknell, who will be in the javelin event on Thursday afternoon.
Seeded 19th in the national field, Richner is appearing in the NCAAs for the third straight time.
She earned All-America honors last spring, finishing eighth in Iowa, and took part in the indoor championships last March in Illinois, placing 16th while being hampered by a quadriceps injury.
Richner qualified this spring by tying the school record of 5 feet, 6 1/2 inches at the New England Division 3 meet.
“We’re happy she got back in the nationals coming off the indoors,” said BSU coach Amy Delgado. “She wasn’t happy with the way that season ended, not being able to place. She came back with a vengeance in the outdoor season.″
Richner has been one of the top performers in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference since the 2013-14 indoor season.
She won the high jump event at the MASCAC Championships four times each during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“She’s improved drastically,” said Delgado. “We knew she was going to be good after jumping 5-5 in high school. We knew she’d be a good athlete.
“She’s become an all-around awesome athlete as a high jumper, hurdler, scoring in the shot put. She’s gotten so much faster.
“We’re sad to see her go. She’s a big point scorer for us and a go-to person if we need her for any relay and event.″
Bucknell, a transfer from UMass Lowell, is seeded 13th after qualifying with a throw of 138 feet, 6 inches at the All-New England meet on May 12.
The sophomore qualified for the All-New England and New England Division 3 meets in her debut with BSU, throwing 127-8 at the Bears Invitational.
“Ellie’s been awesome,″ said Delgado. “She’s just been a gamer since day one.
“She threw 130 feet in high school, so we knew she was going to be good. We were really trying to get her stronger and better so that she could get into the nationals.
“She got better as the year went on. She’s sitting in a good spot going into the nationals.″