Penguins Dominate the “North” Poles

Chaigneau broke the school record. Photo by Cameron Stubbs / The Jambar

By Cameron Stubbs

The Youngstown State University track & field team began its season as it hosted the YSU Icebreaker presented by Southwoods Health at the Watson and Tressel Training Site on Dec. 2.

The indoor season comes on the heels of an impressive cross country season, which much of the track & field team is a part of.

Highlights of the day included eight event wins — four each from the men and women — with three of the wins breaking school records. 

The men’s pole vault was the highlight of the day as it was dominated by the Penguins, as junior Dorian Chaigneau posted a school record, clearing 5.35 meters. Behind him, in second place, was senior Wyatt Lefker, clearing 5.05 meters, and sophomore Elijah Nelson, clearing 4.65m to place fourth.

Chaigneau commented on his start as a Penguin.

“It’s pretty cool,” Chaignau said. “The coach here is good, the group too. Wyatt [Lefker] pushed me a lot during training, he’s pretty good… I’m excited for this year.”

The women also held their own in pole vaulting as they won the event. Senior Erin Bogard won with a 3.95-meter pole clearing jump. Following her was junior Emma Etzwiler, clearing a 3.85-meter height, and freshman Malena Schumacher, clearing a 3.55 meter.

Bogard stated how far the pole vault team has come and what she expects for this season.

“The fact that even if I have a bad day, they’re having a great day, I’m just happy for them.” Bogard said. “It’s nice to know that our team this year is going to be really strong.”

Rick Penniman, the assistant track & field coach and long time pole vault coach commented on how proud he was of both of the teams holding their own in the event.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Penniman said. “Across the board, they showed some pretty good results. A lot of our training is predicated when they get here, all the way up to this first meet, it’s kind of built for them to peak at this one meet going into [winter] break.”

Junior Tye Hunt leaped 7.74 meters to break his own long-jump record. Sophomore Luke Laubacher followed close behind with a 7.08 meter mark for third place. Laubacher claimed his own victory in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.94 seconds.

Finishing off the record-breaking day was senior Jakari Lomax who beat his previous school record in the triple jump with a distance of 15.40 meters.

Other top finishers from the men’s team include seniors Mikel Lagaras, Zach Gray and Christian Ford and freshman Trenton Shutters who all finished in third place in their events.

The women’s top performers include Jahniya Bowers who won the 60 meter dash and finished 0.04 seconds away from beating her own school record with a time of 7.29 seconds.

Junior Madison Murry secured first place in the 60-meter hurdle with a time of 8.59 seconds.

Rounding out the winners for the day was sophomore Molly Radcliffe, who won the shot put event with a career best 14.78 meter throw.

The track & field team will not be in action until after the holidays when it travels to University Park, Pennsylvania to participate in the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge hosted by Penn State University on Jan. 14.

For more information on the track & field teams, visit