By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University track & field team traveled in split squads to compete at Mount Union University’s John Homon Open and Tennessee’s Tennessee Relays on April 7-9.
Over the three-day stretch, the Penguins posted a total of six event victories, with four of those victories occurring on opening day.
The first day of the competition ended with junior Dominic Perry, senior Lauren Dolak, senior Maggie Sebest and junior Alexis Prater earning event victories with their performances at Mount Union Stadium.
In the men’s shot put, Perry went to work, posting a 16.71-meter throw to earn his second event victory of the outdoor season. Freshman Coleson Kertesz finished sixth with a 14.20-meter throw.
Dolak and junior Julia Magliocca clocked personal-best times in the women’s 1500-meter run. Dolak finished with a time of 4:46.27 as she finished the event with the fastest time to earn her first event victory of the outdoor season. Magliocca finished fourth with a time of 4:51.93.
Sebest finished the women’s 3000 meter at the top as she completed the day with a time of 11:46.61. With her performance, she logged her second-straight top-two finish since April 2 at the Slippery Rock Dave Labor Invitational.
In the women’s long jump, Prater was the only Youngstown State competitor. She posted the furthest mark with a personal-best 5.6-meter leap to record the event victory. In the men’s long jump, freshman Andrew Frank recorded a third-place finish with a 6.60-meter jump.
April 8 was a big day for Youngstown State, highlighted by senior Sean Peterson and junior Tye Hunt tabing individual event victories at Tennessee Relays.
In the men’s 800, Peterson clocked the quickest time of the day with 1:51.06. With the win, he defeated 30 competitors during the three-heat race. Peterson was one second shy of breaking his school record time of 1:49.57, set Feb. 5.
In his only legal jump of the day, Hunt posted a 7.08-meter mark to take the victory in the men’s long jump on his third attempt. In third place, senior Daiquain Watson logged a 7.04-meter mark on his third attempt.
Freshman Molly Radcliffe tossed 14.39 meters in the women’s shot put on her sixth and final attempt for the second-best throw of the day. Radcliffe out-threw 14 competitors to earn her a second place nod.
“I can’t be upset with my performance — especially with the weather — since every time I stepped in the ring it snowed,” Radcliffe said.
The final day of the Tennessee Relays concluded with senior Zach Gehm setting a new program record in the men’s discus throw with a 58.02-meter mark.
“I honestly didn’t have a great evening in shot put the day before, and all I could think about was having fun and doing the thing that God made me to do since he gave me the strength to do so,” Gehm said.
The Harmony, Pennsylvania native has had an impressive career at Youngstown State as he had previously broken the school record at the Northeast Ohio Quad during the 2021 outdoor season with a mark of 55.54 meters.
In Gehm’s freshman year, he competed in discus for Team USA at the 2019 Pan American U20 Championships. He also won the discus title at the USA Track & Field U20 Championships with a personal-best throw of 60.3 meters.
Gehm is currently coming off a suspension which was placed on him in his freshman year for illegal use of pre-work out before the pre-qualifier for Team USA. He feels great and is excited to finally be back.
“I had complications with the NCAA and had to sit out a couple of meets, but I’m finally back,” Gehm said. “The suspensions are all lifted and it feels great.”
Gehm and the Penguins are back in action April 15-16 for the two-day Bison Outdoor Classic hosted by Bucknell University.