Hope Bender Joins Santa Barbara Track Club Elite

2019 UC-Santa Barbara graduate and 4x NCAA All-American to represent the Santa Barbara Track Club at the USATF Outdoor National Championships in July

Santa Barbara, Calif. (June 27, 2019) – The Santa Barbara Track Club (SBTC) did not have to go far to recruit its latest addition to the Elite group hosted at Westmont College. Hope Bender, a 2019 UC-Santa Barbara graduate and 4x NCAA Div I. All-American, travelled the 15 miles between campuses to join SBTC ahead of the 2019 USATF Outdoor National Championships. She is a native of Newport Beach, California and recently completed one of the most decorated seasons for a Gaucho Track & Field athlete.

During the 2019 campaign, Bender earned All-American honors in both the indoor Pentathlon and outdoor Heptathlon. She individually scored 38pts at the 2019 Big West Championships with wins in the Heptathlon, Long Jump, 400m Hurdles and a runner-up in the 100m Hurdles. She would set Big West Conference records in both the Heptathlon (5,814pts) and 400m Hurdles (56.64). Bender then concluded her collegiate career by setting a school record in the 200m (23.63) and moved to #2 all-time in the Heptathlon (5,955pts), second only to SBTC teammate and 2016 Olympian Barbara Nwaba. Nationally, she is ranked 9th in the USA with 5,955pts in the Heptathlon and 11th in the 400m Hurdles with her time of 56.64.

“I’m thrilled to be joining such an elite group of athletes and coaches, right in my backyard,” commented Bender. “To be able to continue to compete post-collegiately is a dream and I want to thank Coach (Gray) Horn, the entire UCSB staff and of course all of my teammates for helping me get to this point.”

“I've watched Hope compete for several years and I have always appreciated the focus, intensity and grit that she brings to her events. Hope is someone who truly enjoys and embraces competition,” remarked SBTC Head Coach Josh Priester. “A perfect example of all of this was in her final race as a Gaucho when she won and ran a personal best of 2:10 in the Heptathlon 800m at the NCAA Championships to vault her up to the 4th spot.”

Hope Bender the Numbers

  • 4x NCAA Div. I All-American

  • 6x Big West Champion

  • 2019 Big West Conference Heptathlon Champion: 5,814pts

  • 2019 Big West Conference 400m Hurdles Champion: 56.64

  • 2019 Big West Conference Long Jump Champion: 6.29m / 20' 7.75"

  • 2019 Big West Conference Field Athlete of the Year

  • Big West Conference Championship Heptathlon Record

  • Big West Conference Championship 400m Hurdles Record

  • UCSB 400m Hurdles Record (56.64)

  • UCSB 200m Record (23.63)

  • UCSB 100m Hurdles Record (13.33)

The SBTC Elite calendar has hit its international stride with the Götzis Hypo-Meeting in late May and are now preparing for the USATF Outdoor National Championships (July 25–28, Des Moines, IA), the Pan American Games (July 26–August 11, Peru) and the IAAF World Championships (September 26–October 8, Qatar).

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About the Santa Barbara Track Club
The Santa Barbara Track Club (SBTC) hosted at Westmont College aims to provide a pathway to the podium for athletes of all ages and abilities. The SBTC is comprised of Olympic and aspiring Olympic Track & Field athletes, a Youth Track Club as well as community members seeking to reach their highest potential through group and private training.

David Monico