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Austin Peay State University Track’s Maya Perry-Grimes’ gold highlights first day in Birmingham

APSU Women's Track and FieldBirmingham, AL – Senior Maya Perry-Grimes took home the long jump title to help the Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field team open the 2020 Ohio Valley Conference Championship with 19 points to sit in fifth after the first day of competition.

Austin Peay State University Track and Field senior Maya Perry-Grimes won the gold in the long jump at the 2020 OVC Championship. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay State University Track and Field senior Maya Perry-Grimes won the gold in the long jump at the 2020 OVC Championship. (APSU Sports Information)

With the final to many running events to be contested Thursday, the Govs find themselves on solid footing at the midway point.

With the bulk of Austin Peay State University’s most consistent scoring events still remaining, including the finals of all sprint and hurdle events, the Govs will quickly look to make up ground tomorrow.

Perry-Grimes’ long jump was as clutch as they come. On her last attempt, trailing Tennessee Tech’s Lyn’Nikka Vance, the Antioch native equaled Vance with an indoor personal-best 5.95m leap, with her previous 5.83m mark the tiebreaker to give her an indoor gold to complement her 2019 OVC Outdoor gold in the event.

Joining Perry-Grimes on the podium was junior Denia Hill-Tate, whose 1.69m mark gave her silver in the high jump. Hill-Tate came in among a host of athletes in the middle of the top-eight in the event, but her leap—the seventh-best indoor mark in program history—was a perfectly-timed to both gain her first career medal in league competition and to give the Govs eight points.

“I am extremely proud of Maya and Denia for medaling today to give us a great start to the meet,” said Austin Peay State University head coach Valerie Brown. “Both were ranked lower than where they finished, that’s reflective of a championship effort from both.”

Junior Lennex Walker picked up Austin Peay State University’s other point on the day with an eighth-place, 5.35m long jump mark. She also set herself up for a busy final day of competition, qualifying in both the 60m dash (eighth, 7.70) and 60m hurdles (first, 8.61), with her hurdle mark the eighth-fastest in program history.

“Putting Lennex in the 60m dash was a decision we made late based on changes we had to make with who we entered,” Brown said. “She stepped up to the plate and executed well, especially after only doing that event twice during the season.”

Walker is part of a host of Govs in the sprint event finals on Thursday. Joining her in the 60m dash will be freshman standout Kenisha Phillips, who qualified fourth at 7.63 and was the top qualifier in the 200m dash at 24.34—a personal-best and the second-fastest mark in program history. She’ll be joined in the 200m by Sabrina Richman (eighth, 24.98), who also will compete for a 400m title thanks to her 56.38 mark, which qualified her third.

Long a standout part of the 4x400m relay team, junior Allana Johnson is in her first 400m dash final as an individual thanks to an indoor personal-best 58.17 mark, which qualified her fifth. And Kamille Dunbar will join Walker in the 60m hurdle finals, snagging the final spot with a 9.04 mark. 

“Having Allana in the finals is big for us,” Brown said. “She competed well and showed up when we needed her.”

Sophomore Mikaela Smith, who came into the meet ninth in the 800m run, has gone from the fringes of the finals to one of the favorites after a blistering 2:15.73 run that set her personal indoor best and made her the third-fastest qualifier on Wednesday.

Thursday promises to be a huge day for the APSU Govs. Walker has a full spread with two track finals and the triple jump. At least two Govs are in the finals of all three sprint events and the 60m hurdles. The pole vault, shot put and pentathlon could feature multiple Govs earning points and of course, there is the 4x400m relay to close out the event—long a spot where the APSU Govs have excelled.

“Overall, today was a great day for us,” Brown said. “We have a lot of points left on the table for tomorrow we have to close out this meet with class, a winning attitude and a championship effort.”

The final day of the 2020 OVC Indoor Championships kicks off at 9:00am (CT), with ESPN+ coverage beginning at noon.


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