Track and field, XC teams excel in classroom

By Teziah Howard
Jambar Contributor

Athletes in track and field and cross country have raced toward high GPAs at Youngstown State University. 

During the fall semester, both teams demonstrated dedication in academics. According to each team’s social media platforms, both men’s and women’s teams exceeded a 3.0 GPA last semester. 

The women’s cross country team stood out in the long run, closing the fall semester with a team GPA of 3.63. The runners cruised through the semester with a 3.42 cumulative GPA. The team also finished with five athletes achieving 4.0 GPAs and 11 athletes achieving a GPA of 3.2 or higher. 

The women’s track and field team continued the stout performance, obtaining a 3.55 GPA with a 3.45 cumulative GPA for the semester. The team had 16 ‘Guins sprint to a 4.0 finish, while 42 cleared 3.0 GPAs.

Kaitlyn Eger practices pole vault before competing at a meet. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

In January, long sprinter Havilland Jones contributed to a successful academic semester for the Penguins. Jones is an athletic training major who’s simultaneously pursuing her undergraduate and master’s degree. She said it takes self-discipline to succeed as a student-athlete. 

“It takes you being able to sit down with yourself and say, ‘I need to get this done. I need to make this time. I got to go lift. I got to go run. I got to take care of my body. I got to eat right,’” Jones said. “It’s a lot on my plate, but at the same time I know I have the self-discipline to be able to do so, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job.” 

The men’s track and field team added to a relay of academic prosperity, with a semester final 3.31 GPA. The team tallied 12 student-athletes who dashed through the semester with 4.0 GPAs, and 45 who finished with a 3.0 or higher. 

Sophomore Trenton Shutters is a middle-distance runner who’s had a positive academic impact on the team. Shutters said the team’s success in the classroom shows a strong work ethic. 

“This achievement really shows that we put the work in on and off the track, whether it be the classrooms or getting it done on the track,” Shutters said.

As defending Horizon League champions, the men’s cross country team did not slow down. The men showcased their academic endurance, attaining a 3.49 GPA and a cumulative 3.37 GPA. Fifteen athletes ran past a 3.2 GPA finish, with four adding 4.0 GPAs to their resume. 

Track and field head coach Brian Gorby has been at the helm of the program for over 30 years. Gorby said he was excited to see his athletes standout as students. 

“We’re excited to see 3.4, 3.5 [GPAs], Academic All-Americans recognized by [USA Track & Field],” Gorby said. “All of that is huge, it’s been the standard here for the last 20 years.”

Gorby said YSU athletics’s academic counseling contributes to teams’ success. 

“The person I wanna make sure gets credit is Taylor Blandine, our academic counselor. She’s a rockstar,” Gorby said. “Her and Jaysen Spencer, [director of Athletics Academic Services], got to run our department.”

The teams plan to continue their athletic and academic success throughout the spring semester. As the track and field team finishes the indoor season, it inches closer to an outdoor season.