Lexington, KY – In a meet featuring plenty of talent from around the region, Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field student-athletes found themselves more than up to the task at the Kentucky Open, which wrapped up Saturday.
With an extra week of rest in the rearview and another on the way, the Govs had no reason to hold anything in reserve and the result was a number of outstanding showings against a combination of Ohio Valley Conference contenders and high-level, high-major competition.
In late Friday action, Kenisha Phillips placed eighth overall and third among the collegiate competition, roaring to an eighth-place, 23.76 mark despite getting out to a less-than-stellar start. Friday also saw Maya Perry-Grimes take third in the long jump (5.77 meters) and Shyanna Chapman place seventh in the javelin (33.41 meters).
Perry-Grimes would begin Saturday as one of three Govs in the top-eight in the triple jump, taking runner-up honors with a 12.02-meter leap on her final attempt. Camaryn McClelland (11.07 meters) took sixth and Lennex Walker (10.92 meters) wrapped up at eighth. For McClleland, the mark moves her into the league’s top-10.
In the high jump, Denia Hill-Tate’s personal-best 1.69-meter leap equaled her career-best and placed her sixth overall.
If Phillips’ Friday was good—and the fifth sub-24 second 200-meter dash in program history has to qualify as good at the very least—her Saturday was even better. Phillips cut loose in the 400-meter dash and the result was one of the best 400 attempts in program history.
Phillips finished fifth overall and second among collegiate competitors behind only Kentucky’s Megan Moss with a 53.38 mark—the third-fastest showing by a Gov in program history and the best attempt by any Austin Peay State University runner outside of OVC Championship and NCAA Regional competition.
Phillips’ 400-meter time doesn’t just improve her standing among league competitors in the event—based on marks entering the weekend, she’s now more than two seconds ahead of her closest competition and comfortably in the top-30 in the NCAA East Region.
In the 800-meter, Mikaela Smith smoked the field in the third heat of the event and finished sixth overall with a personal-best 2:11.89 mark to move into the top-10 among OVC competition.
As the meet-ending 4×400-meter relay was beginning, sophomore pole vaulter Karlijn Schouten was taking a shot at history. After a personal-best 4.12-meter mark in the shot put, she set her sights on the APSU record at 4.20-meters; despite three hits of the bar at the record height, she moved into the top-25 in the event regionally and set herself up to make another run at the record, either in two weeks at the OVC Championships or at the NCAA East Preliminary at the end of May.
In the 4×400 meter, a quartet of Phillips, Smith, Allana Johnson, and Rayven Thomasson took seventh with a season-best 3:49.99 mark—a mark that puts the Govs in second among OVC competition this season.
Austin Peay State University will take a week to rest and recuperate ahead of the 2021 Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which go off May 13th in Charleston, Illinois.