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Christiana Harris, Diamond Battle post historic days for APSU Track at OVC Indoor Championships

APSU Sports Information

APSU Women's Track and Field - Austin Peay State UniversityCharleston, ILChristiana Harris got Day One off to a good start for Austin Peay State University track and field at the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships, earning bronze in the pentathlon, while a school record fell on the track for one of Austin Peay’s precocious sprint standouts.  

Austin Peay Track and Field has strong first day at OVC Indoor Championships. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Track and Field has strong first day at OVC Indoor Championships. (APSU Sports Information)

Harris’ consistency served her well in the five-discipline event. She was top-five in four of the five events, topping out with a third-place 1.58m (5-2.25) high jump that netted 712 of her 3,162 points. She’s Austin Peay’s first medalist in the pentathlon since Amia Butler earned bronze in 2014.

“Coming in she was unranked and had dealt with some injuries,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “To come back and finish third in the conference is a great effort.”

Austin Peay picked up plenty of points in the jumps Friday afternoon, featuring two long jump marks that just missed the podium. Senior Chancis Jones placed fifth at 5.85m (19-2.50), but classmate Kaylnn Pitts was even closer to adding to her career medal count. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island native placed fourth with a personal indoor-best 5.92m (19-5.25)—a quarter inch behind third-place Cyra Beard of Tennessee State (5.93m; 19-5.50).

Sophomore Nia Gibbs-Francis‘ sixth-place, 1.64m (5-4.50) high jump mark rounded out the scoring for the Govs on Friday. Keyondria Ross equaled eighth-place finisher Hannah Beth Moorhouse of Belmont at 1.52m (5-2.50), but lost the point via jump aggregate.

“Pitts and Jones did a nice job as always,” Molnar said. “It always comes down to the misses in the high jump; Nia was very close to getting into the top-three. We got about what we expected to get out of our jumpers today.”

Freshman Diamond Battle will get two chances to medal in Saturday’s sprint finals. She qualified fourth overall in the 60m dash, winning heat one with a school-record 7.57 mark, and will also appear in Saturday’s 200m dash final after qualifying seventh (25.38).

“Battle did a great job setting the school record in the 60, and to make the finals in both the 60 and 200 as well,” Molnar said. “To do both as a freshman is really encouraging.”

Senior Myiah Johnson will have a chance to pick up her third career medal in the hurdles, and first in the 60m indoor discipline, after qualifying fourth with an 8.60 mark.

With 18 points after Day One, the Govs find themselves tied with SIU Edwardsville for fifth place. Host Eastern Illinois (44 points) leads the way, followed by Tennessee State (38), Tennessee Tech (33) and Eastern Kentucky (30).

“We’re sitting fifth place right now; we’ve been battling injuries all year and it probably caught up to us a little bit today,” Molnar said. “We’ll get in there tomorrow and battle away; we’ve got the pole vault and triple jump, those are two big events for us where we can do some damage.”

Day Two action picks up at 11:00am from Lantz Fieldhouse. www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com will have coverage, and live results are available here.

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