APSU Track and Field
Clarksville, TN – It all comes down to the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships for Austin Peay State University women’s track and field team, Friday and Saturday, hosted by Murray State at Roy Stewart Stadium.
The Lady Govs finished fourth a year ago, but look to climb in the ranks with an improved sprint crew and young distance team that has made consistent strides throughout the season. Austin Peay also has elevated its efforts in the field events, adding several throwers to an already established jump group.The regular season wrapped up, last Friday, as the Lady Govs won the Showdown on the Cumberland – a tri-meet with Murray State and Tennessee Tech. With a team score of 90 points, head coach Doug Molnar was pleased with the showing, but emphasized the importance of finishing strong.
“This is the last week of the season and what we train for all year,” Molnar said. “We’re well-rested and ready to get some personal bests. This meet is about being physically and mentally fit and ready to compete.”
The outdoor season has seen steady progression in all aspects, but the young distance runners have provided the highlight. The group struggled during the indoor season, but freshmen Xiamar Richards and Taelor Slaughter found their groves rather quickly. Richards enters the championships with the league’s eighth-best 800-meter time (2:21.46) – a time that has been dropping with each race. Senior Janelle Avery, meanwhile, has the 10th-best 1500-meter time (4:47.69).
“Our distance group has been a pleasant surprise,” Molnar said. “We hope to continue that trend this weekend. We’ll be severely tested, with Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois dominating the distance arena this year. We hope to break things up a bit between those two.”
For the past three years, senior Chiamaka Obi has led Lady Govs’ sprinters, but this year may be different. Obi enters the weekend questionable with a leg injury. Although the Clarksville product has been participating in light practice, her status remains unclear.
The Lady Govs have a number of participants slated for the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, led by Jasmin Scott, who ranks in the top-15 with a 12.12 100-meter time. Obi holds the OVC season mark in the 400-meter (55.24), but Scott also is top-15 at 57.69. Senior Latoya Monger, junior Ashley Carson and sophomore Leigha Tolliver will be the Lady Govs presence in the 100- and 200-meter hurdles. Freshman Alyx Pinkston joins Scott in the 400-meter dash.
“Our sprinters are little banged up,” Molnar said. “Obi is day-to-day, but having Ashley back in the hurdles is big.”
“Austin Peay also will need a viable effort in the field portion in order to climb the standings. Historically a strong team in the long and triple jumps, the Lady Govs will rely on sophomore Cenitra Hudson, senor Keyvia Davis and Tolliver. Freshman April Holman has the league’s second-best high-jump mark (1.69m).Senior Courtney Jordan will look to breakthrough in the discus, hammer and javelin. Her 37.05m javelin mark ranks third-best in the league.
“Courtney has had an outstanding spring,” Molnar said. “Our jumpers are really coming on – especially in the vault, high jump and triple jump. We have to get our horizontal jumpers – long and triple – going. This conference just keeps getting better and better each year.”