YSU track and field races toward the gold

By Kyle Wills

On April 9 and 10, the Youngstown State University track and field teams broke four school records when they traveled south to compete at the Miami Hurricane Alumni Invitational.

On Friday, sophomore Erin Bogard set a school record in the women’s pole vault on day one, clearing 3.95 meters on her first attempt at the height. Bogard broke her own previous record of 3.90 meters last weekend at the Northeast Ohio Quad while earning an event win as well.

YSU secured eight top-five finishes, including two more event victories during Friday’s events. Freshman Noah Weese and junior Noah Drudy finished first and second in the men’s javelin with 56.70 meters and 55.54 meters, respectively.

Junior Wyatt Lefker took the gold in the men’s pole vault, clearing 5.05 meters. His posting is just short of his YSU school record of 5.15 meter.

On day two of the Miami Hurricane Alumni Invitational, senior finance major Sean Peterson shattered a previous record. This was held by former-Penguin standout Kurt Michaelis who marked 1:50.42 in the 800-meter run, which stood for 19 years. Peterson set the new record with a time of 1:50.12 to earn the victory in the event. 

“My initial reaction — I wasn’t even aware that it happened because I know the indoor record is 1:49, so my goal was to get under that barrier. I wasn’t thinking about the record, I just thought, ‘Oh man, I’m so close,’” Peterson said. “[Michaelis] is one of the best mid-distance runners in Youngstown State history, so being in that class is awesome.”

Junior Olivia Jones set a new school record in the women’s heptathlon, surpassing her own school record of 4758 points set in 2019, with a total of 4865 points, to earn her a third-place finish in the event.

The women’s 4×100 team consisted of sophomore Kyndia Matlock, sophomore Jahniya Bowers, senior Teneisha Myers and senior Jaliyah Elliott, who clocked a new school record in the event, posted a time of  45.51 in the race to earn a second-place finish. The team’s time breaks the previous school record of 45.77 set in 2018.

Elliott earned an event victory in the women’s 100-meter dash, as well as posting a 11.52 — the second-fastest mark in YSU history. Continuing her impressive day, she recorded a time of 23.65 to earn the bronze in the women’s 200-meter dash.

Junior Zach Gehm took the gold in the men’s discus throw with a 53.65 meter mark, earning the first event victory of the day for YSU, and his third of the season. Gehm also clinched a top-three finish in the men’s shot put, posting a 15.89 meter throw on his final attempt.

Following their impressive performance, Peterson, Elliot and Gehm were named Nike Horizon League Athletes of the Week. This is the second time Peterson and Gehm were awarded this honor this season and the second for Gehm in as many weeks.

On April 11, the track and field team was at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Ed Fry Invitational as the program picked up two event wins. Senior Ashleigh Rowley ran a 4:46.87 and was atop the leaderboard in the women’s 1500-meter run. Senior Jessica Stever posted a 5.83 meter long jump to place first in the event. 

YSU will be back in action next weekend this weekend at a handful of meets including the Slippery Rock Invitational, Hillsdale Gina Relays, Drake Relays and the Ashland Alumni Open. For full coverage of the YSU track and field, follow @YSUTrackFieldXC on Twitter.