Bowling Green, KY – Led by yet another victory for sophomore pole vaulter Karlijn Schouten, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field got the Western Kentucky-hosted Hilltopper Relays off to a strong start, Friday.
Schouten hit 3.75 meters in the pole vault to make it five straight victories in the event dating back to the 2020 Redhawk Open. She hit her first attempt at her first three heights—3.45 meters, 3.60 meters, and 3.75 meters—to attain the victory.
“Karlijn had a good day,” said Austin Peay head coach Valerie Brown. “Jumping in those windy conditions was a bit challenging but she was super competitive in each attempt.”
Two Govs grabbed a pair of third-place finishes in the jumps. Denia Hill-Tate continued a string of impressive performances at 1.60 meters, while senior Maya Perry-Grimes was the top collegiate finisher at 5.59 meters in the long jump, with Jessica Kelley (5.20 meters) placing sixth.
“Our long jumpers looked good,” Brown said. “We have to work on being more consistent on the board. Allana [Johnson] had a good start to a new event in the high jump; when she and Jessica [Kelley] put it all together, they’ll form a good group with Denia.”
Kori McDaniel put her name among the program’s elite in the hammer throw for the second time in as many weeks, placing 10th overall and moving into 10th in program history with a 42.14 meter mark. McDaniel (12.16 meters, eighth) and Jackie Verseman (12.12 meters, ninth) both posted top-10 finishes in the shot put as well, with the duo set to join Shyanna Chapman in Saturday’s javelin throw as well.
In the lone running event of Friday, Sara Martin continued what has been a revelatory spring, finishing fourth in the 5000-meter run with an 18:11.75 mark. The run shaved nearly 30 seconds off her previous career-best in the event.
“Both Sara and Alura Endres enjoyed personal-bests,” Brown said. “Sara has been extremely competitive and very exciting to watch thus far. Coach [Sara-Emily] Woodward has done such a good job with her and she’s bought into the training and commitment to get better.”
Final-day action at Western Kentucky begins at 9:00am with the conclusion of the field events, with a rolling schedule for track events scheduled to start at noon.
“We’re still figuring out the small things and perfecting our craft,” Brown said. “We had some good things happen today; we’re still headed in the right direction, and that’s exciting.”