APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – With a potential trip to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at stake, three Austin Peay State University track and field standouts look to make history at the 2017 NCAA East Preliminary, Thursday, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Sophomore pole vaulter Savannah Amato looks to get the Govs trip to the UK Outdoor Track and Field Complex started in style. The Delaware, Ohio native—competing roughly three-and-a-half hours from home—will take off in the second flight of the women’s pole vault event, tentatively scheduled for a 3:30pm (CT) start, weather permitting.
Although a veteran of the Preliminary round after qualifying a year ago, Amato is still one of the younger competitors in the field—19 of the 48 vaulters are freshmen and sophomores, including 11 in Amato’s flight.
Kentucky’s Olivia Gruver, who ranks second in the NCAA East and sixth in the nation in the event, is in Amato’s flight, as are regional top-10 competitors Madison Heath (Duke), Lakan Taylor (Alabama), Sarah Bell (Vanderbilt), Anna Eaton (North Carolina) and Jessie Johnson (Auburn).
Amato has a bit of familiarity with the opponents in the field and her flight from her travels during the 2017 campaign. Already she’s faced 11 of the qualifiers for the event, including five—Taylor, Taylor Drummonds (Appalachian State), Caleigh Lofstead (Vanderbilt), Madison Roberts (Ohio State) and Dorina Baiker (Memphis)—scheduled to compete in the second flight.
Right behind Amato will be Chancis Jones and Kaylnn Pitts in the long jump, scheduled to go off at 6:15pm (CT). Jones will be in the first flight of 12 competitors, with Pitts scheduled for Flight Two.
Both jumpers have significant experience in the Preliminary round, having qualified in 2015—Pitts also made the journey in 2014 as a freshman. In the first flight, Jones is actually the highest-ranking competitor thanks to her 6.13m (20-1.50) mark at the OVC Championships two weeks ago in Oxford, Alabama. Her flight will also feature another mid-state competitor in Middle Tennessee’s Qetuwrah Abdullah-Muhammad.
In the second flight, Pitts will face a veteran-laden heat featuring only one freshman and one sophomore among the 12-person field—the Woonsocket, Rhode Island native is one of five seniors in the most upper class-heavy flight in the women’s long jump competition.
Unlike Amato, Pitts and Jones don’t have nearly as much familiarity with the foes they are set to face—the duo have competed against just six of the 48 competitors in the field during the 2017 outdoor campaign, and only Abdullah-Muhammad from MTSU will be in a flight featuring a Governor.
Pitts will compete in the first flight of the triple jump, where she stands as the third-highest ranking qualifier in her flight. She’ll be facing off against a trio of opponents she ran across earlier this season at the Florida Relays in Anisa Toppin (North Carolina A&T), Ebony Luster (Florida) and Darlene Charles (Miami).
In fact, you could call this meet a rematch of the Florida Relays triple jump because that’s largely what it is. Fifteen competitors from that meet in late March and early April, including Pitts qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary in the triple jump.
LetsGoPeay.com will have coverage live from Lexington during Thursday night’s competition. A full recap will be available at LetsGoPeay.com Thursday and Saturday evenings.