APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – The time has come for Austin Peay State University track and field to put it all on the line at the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, which begins Wednesday, February 20th in Birmingham, Alabama.
For the first time, a school will not be the designated host of the annual event, held every year since 1985 on campus sites. Instead, the OVC office has taken ownership of the event and will hold it in one of the south’s nicest facilities, the Birmingham Crossplex, All 12 schools from across the league will be in attendance, looking to dethrone defending champion Tennessee Tech.
Last season, four Governors found a spot on the podium at this event, with Savannah Amato earning her fourth career gold medal in the pole vault. The Govs placed seventh as a team at the 2018 Indoor event in Charleston, but bring 18 individuals currently in the OVC’s top-10 into the week.
One of the big reasons for optimism at this year’s OVC Indoor Championships is sophomore Sabrina Richman. Last year, in just her fifth appearance as a Governor, Richman placed seventh in the 400m dash in Charleston. With a full season behind her, the Atlanta native ranks second in the conference in the 400m (55.41) and third in the 200m (24.43), less than a second behind the overall leader in both events.
Richman will have some company among Governors in both her individual events—freshman Kyra Wilder ranks sixth in the 200m entering the week, while junior Amelia Thiesing looks to pick up points in her fourth straight OVC Championships; she currently sits in eighth in the 400m standings. That trio, along with freshman Jessica Kelley, will lead Austin Peay’s top-ranked 4x400m relay unit in the second heat of the finals as they look for Austin Peay’s first indoor gold in the 4x400m relay since 2001.
In the intermediate distances, freshman Mikaela Smith is a darkhorse in the 800m run; she sits in ninth at 2:17.58, with less than six seconds separating the top-10 runners in the event. Smith, Kelley, freshman Madison Morstad and senior Emmaculate Kiplagat will represent the Govs as one of eight teams entered into the distance medley relay; only four teams have registered a DMR mark in 2018-19.
The wild card in Austin Peay’s continuous effort to sweep the podium in the event could come in the No. 3 spot; sophomore Morgan Bradley, Southeast Missouri’s Sierra Maddox and Murray State’s Brooke Misukonis are within three inches of one another heading into the weekend, but Bradey is the only one whose season-best 3.65m mark came at the Birmingham Crossplex.
Two of Austin Peay’s best chances for the podium are in short sprints and short hurdles. Junior Tymeitha Tolbert is among the podium favorites in the 60m dash (7.56), with Wilder (eighth, 7.74) also a threat to add to the Austin Peay tally. A trio of Govs led by sophomore Lennex Walker (second, 8.62) are contenders in the 60m hurdles; she is joined by freshman Camaryn McClelland (fourth, 8.71) and junior Kaitlyn Black (eighth, 8.89) among the league’s top-10, and all three picked up those marks the last time they competed in Birmingham for Bulldog Open, February 8th.
McClelland and Walker both have a chance to pick up points or find the podium in the jumps as well; McClelland is tied for fifth in the long jump at 5.63m—second longest by a freshman this season—while Walker (fifth, 11.70m) and 2017 OVC Indoor Freshman of the Year Maya Perry-Grimes (eighth, 11.57m) represent Austin Peay’s best hopes in the triple jump.
Wednesday’s field events open at 10:00am, while Thursday gets underway with the pentathlon at 9:20. Live results will be provided by CFPITiming.com and ESPN+ will pick up live coverage beginning at 11:00am each day.