APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Breigh Jones stated that her goal at the NCAA East Preliminary was to break 54 seconds, since she hadn’t done that yet in 2014.
Well, mission accomplished. And then some.
The Austin Peay State University track and field sophomore crushed her personal-best and the school record by nearly a second with a 52.82 second run on her way to a top-10 finish in the first round of the 400m dash at the NCAA East Preliminaries, hosted by North Florida.“To say she looked really good today would be an understatement,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “Totally in control, which was great to see from the inside lane. She put up a personal best, crushed the school record and still had a bit left in the tank. Coach Brown has done a great job with her all season, as evidenced by how well-prepared she was tonight.”
In possibly the fastest of the six heats – six of the eight competitors advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinal – Jones stood out with a second-place run that easily eclipsed the old outdoor record of 53.75 set at last season’s Preliminary.
On the inside lane next to Clemson’s Marlena Wesh, the heat winner, Jones defeated Virginia’s Jordan Lavender, Penn State’s Dynasty McGee and Cincinnati’s Kenya Woodall – the seventh, 19th and 20th-ranked runners in the region – to ensure a place in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
Overall, Jones finished ninth in the opening round, ahead of 10 of the region’s top 20 competitors based on marks entering Thursday’s competition. Ranked 42nd among qualified competitors entering the meet, Jones was one of only two competitors who started the day ranked outside the top-30 in the 400m event to advance to the quarterfinals. She also posted the fourth-fastest showing by a sophomore.
Jones was one of only two female track athletes who entered Thursday ranked 40th or lower on the start list only to move into the top-10 in their respective event, joining Ohio State’s Chesna Sykes, who moved from 46th to ninth in the 100m dash.
Now, Jones has the chance to do something no Austin Peay track and field athlete has ever done and advance to the NCAA Championships. The top 12 in Friday’s quarterfinal advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, June 11th-14th. The next step in her journey is scheduled for 5:15pm (CT), Friday.
“Breigh always brings it up a notch when it comes to these big meets,” Molnar said. “Hopefully, she can do it again tomorrow and punch her ticket to Eugene.”