Track & Field takes Leaps and Bounds 

By John Ostapowicz 

The Youngstown State University men and women’s track & field teams went to work over two days of competition at the YSU Mid-Major Invitation presented by Southwoods Health and at the Boston University John Thomas Terrier Classic in Boston, Jan. 27 and 28

Over the two-day span, the Penguins accumulated 13 event victories, three school records and a top 20 spot in the NCAA leaderboards. 

At the John Thomas Terrier Classic, junior Hunter Christopher went the distance, shattering the school record in the 5,000-meter run, Jan. 26. Christopher surpassed the previous best time in the 5k, with a time of 13:50.04.  

The previous record was held by former Penguin Kiplangat Tisia in 2009 of 14:15.10. 

Junior Ryan Meadows also surpassed the old mark with a time of 14:13.31, as senior Chase Easterling and senior Tyler Clark recorded personal-best times.

For the women’s team, senior Morgan Cole finished sixth in the 5k with a time of 16:46.75, making her the third fastest collegiate runner in the race and marking an indoor personal best by 15 seconds. 

The record-breaking day continued at the YSU Mid-Major inside the Watson and Tressel Training Site.

Senior Wyatt Lefker moved into the all-time spot in the pole vault in school history and ranks 12th in the NCAA standings. On Lefker’s third attempt, he cleared the bar for 5.15-meters.

To continue the dominant afternoon Jan. 28, senior Jahniya Bowers broke the school and WATTS record by winning the 200-meter with a time of 23.57 seconds. The previous best mark was 23.66 seconds, set on March 1, 2020. 

In the long jump and triple jump, junior Esther Solarin walked away with two event victories. In the long jump, she recorded a leap of 5.61-meters and in the triple jump a leap of 11.98-meters. 

The women’s pole vault featured senior Erin Bogard, winning the event by clearing the bar at 4.00-meters. 

In the weight throw, junior Lauren Sheehan secured the event win with a heave of 16.59-meters, winning by over a meter. In the men’s shot put, senior Dominic Perry posted a throw of 18.12-meters, taking first by half a meter.

In the 5,000-meter race, senior Ashley Ventimiglia won the event by five seconds, securing the top spot with a time of 18:31. In the 400-meter dash, sophomore Ryan Laird rallied for a late victory.

In hurdles, the Penguins swept the title in both the men and women’s event. Sophomore Luke Laubacher led the way for the men, with a time of 8.01 seconds, while junior Madison Murry took first with 8.87 seconds for the women. 

In the final event of the day, junior Lonnie Harper won the high jump with a leap of 2.02-meters. 

On Jan. 30, Christopher, Solarin and Bowers were named Nike Horizon League Track & Field Athletes of the Week. 

The men and women’s track & field teams return to action this week in split squads at the Scarlet Knights Open, the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational and the Ashland Jud Logan Light Giver Open, Feb. 3-4.