By Madeline Hippeard
Senior Hunter Christopher broke the five-mile school record for the Youngstown State University men’s cross country team Sept. 29 after crossing the finish line of the Blue Race at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational with a time of 23:50.5.
Christopher also held the previous school record, which was 24:13.
After the race at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, Christopher became the first runner in YSU history to run five miles in under 24 minutes. Christopher placed 14th overall in the race.
Christopher said he’s proud of breaking the record since his entire family was there to watch.
“My brother was there racing for a different school, and my mom and dad made the trip,” Christopher said. “As soon as I crossed the line, that’s what I thought about.”
Two other Penguins placed in the top 100 runners in the five-mile. Senior Ryan Meadows earned 60th place with a time of 24:32.3. Junior Thomas Caputo raced a 25:01.1, which earned him 96th place.
Senior Tyler Clark also ran for the ‘Guins with a time of 25:16.3, along with junior Tobias Jones, who ran a time of 25:20.0.
This was the second time in program history the men’s team was invited to participate in the Blue Race, the first of which was in 1995.
The Penguins raced against 17 teams in the Blue Race, four of which are nationally ranked in the top 25 teams across the country.
The ‘Guins placed 16th overall with 379 points.
The women’s team also participated in the 5K Gold Race.
Graduate student Morgan Cole was the first lady ‘Guin to cross the finish line with a time of 17:09.5, which earned her a fourth place finish.
Cole was recently named the Horizon League Cross Country women’s runner of the week, after a top 10 finish at the Penn State Spiked Shoe Invitational. Cole competed against 74 other runners, most of whom were from Power Five conferences.
Cole said she is proud of her top finishes this year, especially since she has been running for Youngstown State for five years.
“I am old. I am a fifth-year [student] this year, so I feel like the mindset going in is, ‘I have the experience, I have nothing to lose,’” Cole said. “Last one, best one.”
Also racing for the lady ‘Guins was senior Alyssa Deeds, who finished 38th with a time of 18:16.8 while senior Hannah Wagner finished 103rd with a time of 19:21.4.
Sophomore Malena Cybak and freshman Grace Rhoades finished 109th and 110th with times of 19:30.8 and 19:32.1, respectively.
Out of 18 competing schools in the Gold Race, the lady ‘Guins took 13th place overall with 336 points.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will return to action Oct. 7 when they compete in the Bill Lennox Slippery Rock Invitational in New Castle, Pennsylvania.
The women’s team will compete in the 6K, which is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. The men’s team will compete in the 8K, which is scheduled after the women’s race at 11:15 a.m.
To find more information and view the results of the meet, visit ysusports.com.