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Three APSU Track and Field athletes head to NCAA East Preliminary

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Women's Track and FieldClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University track and field will put forth a trio of student-athletes at the NCAA East Preliminary next week in Lexington, Kentucky, with seniors Kaylnn Pitts and Chancis Jones and sophomore Savannah Amato scheduled to compete.

This is the seventh consecutive season Austin Peay has sent at least one athlete to the regional round, and the second time in three seasons the Govs have equaled the program record with three athletes earning qualification.

APSU Kaylnn Pitts, Chancis Jones and Savannah Amato

All three are veterans of the process—Amato qualified last season as a freshman, Jones went as a sophomore and Pitts went in 2014, 2015 and now 2017.

“They all have experience, which is huge,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “They’ve been through it before, so each knows what it’s about. Hopefully, one or all of them can make the leap to the next stage.”

Amato, the Governors pole vaulting extraordinaire, continued to reach new heights during the 2017 outdoor campaign. In eight outdoor attempts, the Delaware, Ohio native never finished lower than sixth and broke the 13-foot barrier on two occasions—a 13-2.50 (4.03m) mark at the Hilltopper Relays and a 13-1.75 (4.01m) mark at the Memphis Invitational.

She bookended the pre-Regional schedule with victories in Oxford, Alabama at the Gamecock Quad (11-5.75; 3.50m) and the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships (12-8.00; 3.86m), earning her third consecutive gold medal in OVC Championship competition. She picked up a third win in the Governors home event, the APSU Invitational, with a 12-9.50 (3.90m) mark.

Ranked 37th overall in the region entering the event, Amato is tied for seventh among sophomores. She will kick off the event for the Govs, 3:30pm CT, Thursday, May 25th.

Jones and Pitts will go right after Amato that same day, with the long jump slated for a 6:15 p.m. (CT) start. Jones, a Chattanooga native, earned her qualifying mark with her bronze-winning performance at the OVC Outdoor Championships, breaking 20 feet for the first time in her Austin Peay career with a 20-1.50 (6.13m) mark.

In her eight outdoor attempts, Jones never finished lower than 14th and enjoyed four top-three finishes, including a runner-up 19-5.25 (5.92m) jump at the Hilltopper Relays. She is 37th in the region entering the event.

For the second time in her Austin Peay career, Pitts will pull double-duty in the long jump and triple jump—the 2017 Austin Peay Female Legends Award recipient is the only student-athlete in program history to pull such a feat. She was very nearly joined in that exclusive club by Jones, who was 49th in the triple jump—the top-48 move through to the Preliminary round.

Qualified 36th in the long jump, the Woonsocket, Rhode Island native qualified at 20-1.75 (6.14m) in her silver medal-earning performance at the 2017 OVC Outdoor Championships. She never finished lower than fourth in her five long jump attempts, including a trio of top-two finishes in her last three meets. She also won the long jump at the APSU Invitational with a 19-11.50 (6.08m) mark.

Pitts also won the triple jump at the APSU Invitational (41-8.00; 12.70m), one of two triple jump victories for her this spring—she also found the top of the podium at the Hilltopper Relays (40-4.75; 12.31m). Her APSU Invitational mark served as her qualifying jump and has her 40th in the region entering the 5:00pm CT Saturday, May 27th start of the event at the Preliminary. She’ll battle not only the top jumpers in the East Region but also Tennessee State’s Amber Hughes, who qualified fourth in the East.

The top-12 in each event in both the East and West Preliminaries will advance to the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Eugene, Oregon, June 7th-10th.


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