St. Mary’s product Maria Bienvenu competes today at NCAA Championships

AUSTIN, Texas – Maria Bienvenu’s unlikely rise among the country’s best women’s javelin competitors reaches another milestone today as she is among 24 competitors in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Her event begins at 6:45 this evening and will be carried by ESPN+. Bienvenu is in the second flight of 12 throwers, each getting three attempts and attempting to earn advancement to the final group of nine throwers who will get an additional three tries.

The top 16 earn All-America honors. The top eight get first-team All-America awards. Those finishing 17-24 are honorable mention All-America.

As a freshman, Bienvenu finished 12th with a 175-1 throw in Eugene, Ore., and earned second-team All-America status. That experience will be beneficial today, she told KALB-TV reporter Mary Margaret Ellison.

“The atmosphere is just crazy. I have been so thankful to be a part of that and to come back again this year,” said Bienvenu. “I just want to compete for myself this time and not try to overdo it. I just want to get out there and show them I deserve to be there too, with them.”

Bienvenu, a redshirt sophomore, has the 16th best throw this season (173-5) among the qualifiers, 12 from the West Region and 12 from the East. Her personal best is a school record 175-9 early in the 2021 season before she was injured.

In her rebound year after elbow surgery last year, Bienvenu has had a terrific 2023 outdoor season.  She won the Louisiana Classics, her first event of the year, and won the Sun Belt Conference championship where she set a meet record. 

She didn’t throw the javelin in high school except for three meets at the end of her senior year, after she was an All-State star for the Lady Tigers’ state championship basketball team. She was also a softball standout.

At the NCAA East Regional Opening Round two weeks ago in Jacksonville, Fla., she finished fifth and punched her ticket to her second national meet.

Live results from tonight’s competition will be available at