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Austin Peay State University Track and Field shines at it’s annual APSU Invitational event

APSU Sports Information

APSU Women's Track and FieldClarksville, TN – In its annual home meet, Austin Peay State University track and field enjoyed some dominating performances, with several student-athletes advancing their standing both in the conference and in the region with spectacular efforts.

Home meet or not, one place where it was business as usual was the pole vault pit, where junior Savannah Amato won handily with a 4.01m (13-1.75) mark. Both freshman Morgan Bradley and junior Dascha Hix reached 3.86m (12-8.00), with Bradley sharing second and Hix fourth based on attempts.

Austin Peay honored Track and Field seniors Sarah-Emily Woodward, Ashleigh Woods, Becca Wheeler, Gretchen Rosch, Sarah Carpenter, and Allysa Scott at the APSU Invitational, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay honored Track and Field seniors Sarah-Emily Woodward, Ashleigh Woods, Becca Wheeler, Gretchen Rosch, Sarah Carpenter, and Allysa Scott at the APSU Invitational, Friday. (APSU Sports Information)

“Thirteen feet has become the normal for Savannah,” said head coach Doug Molnar. “And the cool thing is, we had three over 12-7 last week and they did it again and I think they were somewhat disappointed that they didn’t go higher. It’s coming fast and furious for Morgan which is nice.”

Junior Nia Gibbs-Francis picked up a pair of top-five finishes, placing fourth in the triple jump (10.74m; 35-3.0), her first career placement in the event, and fifth in the high jump (1.58m; 5-2.25). While freshman Maya Perry-Grimes scratched in the triple jump, she put together a sterling fourth-place, 5.52m (18-1.50) mark in the long jump as part of a busy Friday for the multi-sport standout.

The biggest victor of the day was likely sophomore Tymeitha Tolbert, who held off Murray State’s Tamdra Lawrence for the win in the 100m dash, securing the school-record with an 11.51 mark—more than a tenth of a second faster than Erika Adams‘ 2015 mark of 11.64. That mark puts Tolbert firmly atop the leaderboard in the OVC, as both she and Wickham turned in their season-bests.

Tolbert also placed third in the 200m dash with a 24.33 mark, one of five Govs in the top-eight: freshman Lennex Walker (24.70, fifth), sophomore Amelia Thiesing (24.75, sixth), senior Allysha Scott (24.79, seventh) and Perry-Grimes (24.97, eighth).

“Tymeitha is on fire right now,” Molnar said. “Traditionally, anything in that 11.50 area (in the 100m dash) will get you into the regional, and that’s exciting for us and for her.”

The victories came swiftly for the Govs on the track, where Walker led an outstanding quartet to four of the top six spots. Walker was the victor thanks to a career-best 14.15 run, but she had plenty of company up front, with freshmen Denia Hill-Tate (14.77), Kamille Dunbar (14.81) and sophomore Kaitlyn Black (15.07) occupying spots four-through-six.

“They did a really good job,” Molnar said. “That group’s young and getting better all the time.”

Two of the top three spots on the 400m dash podium belonged to Governors, with freshman Sabrina Richman‘s debut at Fortera Stadium yielding a 57.08 mark and runner-up honors. In her final race on her home track, Scott was third at 57.17, her fastest mark since the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championships.

In longer distances, junior Caroline Kiplagat won the 3000m steeplechase (11:45.9), while junior Emmaculate Kiplagat posted Austin Peay’s best 5000m time this season, finishing runner-up at 18:07.54.

Austin Peay opened and closed the track portion of the event with excellent relay runs. In the first track event, Tolbert, Perry-Grimes, Walker and sophomore Diamond Battle were runner-up in the 4x100m relay with a 46.92 mark, while Richman, Thiesing, Scott and freshman Allana Johnson won the penultimate event of the day with a 3:53.03 mark in the 4x400m.

“I’m feeling good about where we’re at right now,” Molnar said. “We’re set up well, we’re healthy— we’ve got a few injuries where I’d love to have those people at full go but for where we are in the season we’re in great shape.”

With less than a month to go until the 2018 OVC Outdoor Championships, the Govs are back in action next week at the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta.

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