Jacksonville, FL – An outstanding 2021 outdoor campaign came to an end for Karlijn Schouten and Kenisha Phillips; the Austin Peay State University (APSU) track and field duo saw their first outdoor season come to an end in the opening round of the 2021 NCAA East Preliminary, hosted by North Florida and the Jacksonville Sports Council.
Schouten went over four meters for the third consecutive meet, hitting 4.07 meters to share 25th.
Phillips was just outside the qualifying time for Saturday’s quarterfinal round, finishing 26th overall with a 53.63 run, tying Breigh Jones’ 2015 NCAA East Preliminary jaunt for fifth-fastest outdoor 400-meter run in program history.
“This was the biggest meet of the season,” said Austin Peay State University head coach Valerie Brown. “We are extremely proud of Kenisha and Karlijn. They were competitive and fearless, as they have been all year long. They represented Austin Peay and the Ohio Valley Conference well. To come out and compete as they did shows the direction these two young ladies are headed.
Competing in the opening flight at 2:00pm CT, Schouten cleared the opening two heights (3.77 meters and 3.92 meters) on the first attempt. She needed her third and final vault to make the 4.07 meter height—the fifth-highest in program history—before missing the mark on all three attempts at what would be a program record-tying 4.17 meters.
Schouten finished ninth among freshmen; overall, she tied Cincinnati’s Rachel Coghill and Central Michigan’s Kasey Staley. Her 4.07 meter mark is the best in regional competition in program history.
Lining up in the inside lane of the fourth heat in the nightcap, Phillips rocketed out to one of the five best races anyone in an APSU uniform has ever put forth. She finished fourth in the heat—the top three automatically moved on to the quarterfinals—behind Michigan’s Ziyah Holman, Florida’s Doneisha Anderson and Miami University’s Olivia Bechtel, who was just three spots on the leaderboard and three-tenths of a second in time ahead of Phillips.
Among freshmen, the Guyana native was ninth. She also beat out a pair of local products in Middle Tennessee’s Amarachukwu Obi (53.66) and Agnes Abrocquah (54.04).
The meet caps a huge season in the development for both, interrupted as it has been over the last 12 months by COVID-19 Coronavirus.
“This is the kind of meet they needed for their careers as Govs,” Brown said. “To be as young as they are, having missed an entire outdoor season last year and an entire indoor season this year, they did a heck of a job. Getting to see this level of competition and getting to be a part of it early gives them all the drive and hunger for next year.”
Phillips, Schouten and the rest of the APSU Govs look to enjoy a complete indoor and outdoor schedule for the 2021-22 season.