By Nathanael Hawthorne
A new semester means the beginning of a new season for many sports across Youngstown State University. The track and field team is preparing for another successful season — starting with the YSU Invitational.
At the invitational last year, the team dominated several events, and two of the competitors set YSU records. Chad Zallow, now a YSU alumnus, set a YSU record and WATTS facility record with a time of 6.72 seconds in the 60-meter dash, and junior Chontel Fils set a record in the long jump with a 12.28-meter leap.
Suerethia Henderson also took first place in the 60- and 200-meter dash, while Dom Westbay placed first in the shot put, and Daiquain Watson took first in the triple jump.
Nicole Squatrito, Collin Harden, Jennifer Muhlenkamp and Destiny Washington earned second-place honors in various events as well.
“Our team is very strong. We probably have some doubters that [say], ‘We’re not going to score as many points this year because we don’t have Chad [Zallow], but I feel like we have some good incoming recruits,” sophomore sprinter Jamynk Jackson said.
According to Jackson, the team only has one thing on its mind: to break records and win the championship.
“[We want to] be better than we were last year,” he said.
Track and field varies from other sports because there are different aspects of the team. One of those aspects is the jumpers. The team had nine athle
tes finish sixth place or higher. Jumps coach Tyler Mettille said the expectation of the team is to win the conference championship.
“Our group is extremely motivated and hard working all fall and winter break, and they’re ready to chase a few more championships,” Mettille said.
The team is young, as many members are freshmen or sophomores, but Mettille believes the team is better because of it.
“We’re a pretty well-rounded team right now. … We have a lot of young talent, but we still have some pretty good senior leadership,” he said.
The field portion of track and field is just as strong. At last year’s invitational, the team had multiple throwers rank sixth place or higher. One of the throwers, sophomore Zach Gehm, competed in several national events during the offseason, winning the discus title at the USA Track and Field Under 20 competition.
After the invitational, YSU will travel to South Carolina to participate in the Bob Pollock Invitational at Clemson University.