Nashville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field got 2020 off to a solid start at the Ed Temple Invitational, hosted by Tennessee State at the Gentry Center.
The day began with an outstanding personal-best in the high jump by junior Denia Hill-Tate, whose 1.67m mark; she also made the finals in the 55m hurdles, finishing sixth at 8.76.
Junior Lennex Walker also made the finals in the 55m hurdles, winning the event with an 8.21 mark just four-hundredths of a second from her personal-best, with junior Kamille Dunbar also in the top-five with an 8.63 run; Dunbar also competed in the high jump for the first time since high school as the APSU Govs look to expand her repertoire. Walker also placed fourth in the triple jump with an 11.37m leap.
One of Sunday’s most impressive outings belonged to junior Maya Perry-Grimes. The 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year equaled her career indoor best in the triple jump, winning the event with a 12.25m mark and set a personal-best in the indoor long jump at 5.76m.
“Maya does things you can’t coach, and that just shows her commitment,” said Austin Peay State University head coach Valerie Brown. “She looks great across the board, and I think she’s going to do something great not just in the jumps but also on the track.”
Sophomore Kori McDaniel posted a pair of top-five tosses in the shot put and weight throw. Her 14.90m weight throw is the eighth-best indoor throw in program history and earned her a fifth-place finish while a 12.74m mark in the shot put earned her third.
Through two meets, freshman Kenisha Phillips is showing the potential to be a special performer in the sprints. After equaling the school record in the 60m dash in her debut at the Saluki Fast Start in December, the Guyana native won the 200m in her first collegiate attempt with a 24.69 mark and was joined by sophomore Kyra Wilder in the top-five; Wilder placed fourth at 25.49.
Two Govs won their events in the longer distances. Sophomore Mikaela Smith took the top honor in the 800m run at 2:23.35, while sophomore Sara Martin’s 11:32.08 run made her the top finisher in the 3000m run.
Two more Govs also earned top-five showings in the sprints. Junior Sabrina Richman’s 56.48 mark earned her runner-up in the 400m dash, while senior Diamond Battle—the 2019 APSU Homecoming Queen—took fourth in the 55m dash at 7.29.
“Diamond has battled a lot over the last couple of months and I was impressed with how she came out,” Brown said. “Kenisha Phillips continues to impress; she’s got a chance to be special.”
To conclude the day, Austin Peay State University’s quartet of Richman, Phillips, Wilder and Allana Johnson blistered the field in the 4x400m relay, winning by more than 10 seconds and becoming the only team in the field with a sub-four minute showing at 3:53.86. A second Austin Peay quartet of Dunbar, Smith, Tiyanna Johnson and Jessica Kelley placed fourth with a 4:18.93 showing.
“I was pleasantly surprised where we’re at coming back from Christmas,” Brown said. “It was a good start. I could tell they kept working over the break, they were very competitive and excited to be back. I was impressed with how they returned.”
Flush with success on the heels of this event, APSU will compete next weekend at the Gene Edmonds Invitational, hosted by Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana.