Track and field expectations running high

By Yousof Hamza

The Youngstown State University track and field team broke the ice for the indoor track season with 52 other schools at the YSU Icebreaker meet in Watson and Tressel Training Site.

Senior Wyatt Lefker and junior Erin Bogard both set men’s and women’s pole vault school records to open up the season. Lefker cleared a 5.15-meter bar while Bogard cleared a 4.05-meter bar. 

Other highlights from the meet include junior Jahniya Bowers gold finish in the women’s 60-meter dash with a time of 7.38, tying her personal record and placing her second in school history.

Bowers also won the 200-meter race with a personal best of 24.40 seconds. Junior Kyndia Matlock finished second for Youngstown State with a time of 25.05 seconds.

Head coach Brian Gorby believes the team will continue to improve as it chases another Horizon League Championship.

“A lot of the folks have trained hard over the last three months and this was their shot,” he said. “The track team … this was like their championship for the fall … the focus is to always build through the season, but peak comes [around] championship time.”

Going into this track and field season, Gorby has 47 Horizon League championships. He has the ability to make it to 50 championships after the indoor, outdoor and cross country seasons this year.

He believes the students and assistant coaches are the key to his success. Recruiting those students is important, and Youngstown State has received one of the best recruiting classes in Ohio.

“Great staff, great kids, lots of energy — pretty much the energy we bring everyday — and these kids keep taking it up to another level,” Gorby said. “It’s the atmosphere — there’s nothing like it. We’ve got the best coaches in the nation.”

He believes the coaches and athletes are helping build Youngstown State into a Power Five-type program.

Recruits are attracted to what Youngstown State offers its athletes, and Gorby is continually trying to bring in top athletes.

“The facility — it’s one of the best in the nation. Our travel schedule, we’ll put it up against anyone in the nation,” Gorby said about attracting student-athletes. “We do go above and beyond for these kids, the bells and whistles, to kind of get them whatever they need to be successful. We’ll take athletes four, five different places a weekend to get them, of course, the opportunities.”

This meet was the first time spectators could view an indoor meet at Youngstown State in 22 months. Gorby appreciated the support from the fans and their impact on the team.