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Austin Peay State University Track and Field comes in Fifth at Bill Cornell Invitational

APSU Women's Track and FieldCarbondale, IL – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field team may have been nearly 700 days between competitions but for many of the Govs, it didn’t take very long at all to shake off any residual rust at the Southern Illinois-hosted Bill Cornell Invitational at Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex, Saturday.

Austin Peay State University Track and Field shines at Bill Cornell Invitational, Saturday. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay State University Track and Field shines at Bill Cornell Invitational, Saturday. (APSU Sports Information)

Overall, the Govs finished fifth as a team with 57 points; host Southern Illinois took the team title in the event with 202 points.

“Today was a good day for our team,” said head coach Valerie Brown. “When you take off the amount of time this group has been off from competition, you really couldn’t have asked for a better way to open up.”

As we’ve come to expect, many of the highlights belonged to Kenisha Phillips. The sprint dynamo won the 400-meter dash with a personal-best 55.43 mark in the event, then joined with Allana Johnson, Mikaela Smith and Rayven Thomasson to win the 4×400-meter relay, closing out the Governors day with a 4:01.84 mark from the quartet.

In the 800-meter, Smith provided her own theatrics with a runner-up showing at blistering 2:16.14, less than three seconds away from her personal-best.

In the field, Karlijn Schouten opened her first outdoor campaign as a Gov with a 3.80-meter pole vault, earning the title on jumps against Southern Illinois’ Erin Diemer. This marks three straight wins for Schouten in the pole vault; she closed out the 2020 indoor season with back-to-back victories at the Redhawk Open and the 2020 Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships. 

Denia Hill-Tate led a strong showing from the jumpers; she took third in the high jump at 1.60 meters, with Jessica Kelley (1.55 meters) showing out with a sixth-place finish. Lennex Walker also brought home a top-eight finish with a 5.13-meter long jump, placing eighth.

Expect big things from junior Kori McDaniel this season. In her first action in over a calendar year, the junior took fourth with a personal-best 13.22-meter shot put toss, which also serves as the ninth-best outdoor shot put by a Gov in program history.

“We have talked a lot about trusting the process and getting a starting point to build off of and today we did just that,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to this group building and growing from today’s meet; we’re not where we would like to be but I’m excited about where we are headed.

“We are headed in the right direction in every event. Karlijn looked fantastic in her progressions today. Kenisha in the 400, Mikaela in the 800, Kori in the shot… Sara Martin had a double personal-best in both the 1500 and the 800. Even those who didn’t have a personal-best today opened up close to or better than their previous season-opening marks. That’s a fantastic indicator of our starting point.”



McDaniel’s throw was the hallmark of a strong day for the Govs in the pits. Sophomore Shyanna Chapman’s 30.50 meter javelin toss placed her seventh in her first attempt as a Gov. And McDaniel’s longtime throws partner Jackie Verseman had a seventh-place, 11.81-meter toss of her own in the shot put to open the outdoor campaign.

“I’m proud of how we responded to being at a meet again,” Brown said. “The energy and positivity was great. We shook off the nerves from having not competed in a while; now it’s time to get back to work and continue getting better.”

The Govs return to action next weekend at the Murray State-hosted Margaret Simmons Invitational, March 26th-27th, in Murray Kentucky.


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