A Chance at History: YSU women look for Triple Crown this weekend

Ciara Jarrett runs during the Indoor Horizon League Championship at the Watson and Tressel Training Site on March 2. Jarrett, the YSU/The Vindicator Female Athlete of the Year, hopes to help lead the Penguins to their third title this season.

Ciara Jarrett runs during the Indoor Horizon League Championship at the Watson and Tressel Training Site on March 2. Jarrett, the YSU/The Vindicator Female Athlete of the Year, hopes to help lead the Penguins to their third title this season.

It’s a goal that Youngstown State University track head coach Brian Gorby said his women’s team has been working towards for about two or three years.

With the 2014 Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend, the Penguins women’s team has a chance to capture the Triple Crown for the 2013-2014 season.

The YSU women have already won the HL Cross Country Championships in November and the HL Indoor Track and Field Championships in March.

With another team victory in this weekend’s event — which is hosted by YSU and runs Friday through Sunday — it would be the first time the Penguins have won all three in one season since 1997.

“Hopefully we can have our final act and bring home the Triple Crown, which is the apex of our sport,” Gorby said. “Of course, to win one championship is just a tremendous feat, but to do two and then maybe the Triple Crown would be unbelievable.”

The women are in this position thanks to what Gorby calls a “complete team.”

“Most teams focus on one area, but this is the most complete team we’ve had in the history of the program,” he said. “If we’re not the best we’re pretty close to the best in every single one of the four phases.”

Some of the YSU women to look out for are Jen Neider and Jaymee Corbett in the throwing events and Chenera Lacey, Mackenzie Sturtz and Ellie Pollock in the high jumps.

Gorby also mentioned he expects big things from runners Nina Grambling, Alteeka Vanwright and Samantha Hamilton.

“We have a couple key folks that are redshirted this year,” Gorby said. “So right now our focus is for a couple girls to step up in their spots.”

Meanwhile, the men are looking to get over the hump after second place finishes in the HL Cross Country Championships and HL Indoor Track and Field Championships.

“We’ve got a great shot and can control our destiny,” Gorby said. “Guys like Eric Rupe and Bobby Grace have a shot to do some big things.”

Rupe is a distance runner, while Grace will compete in the throwing events. Gorby also singled out his jumpers of Jay Jakovina, William Royal and Arnoldo Morales as athletes who should make some noise this weekend.

“Us and [the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee] will be battling,” Gorby said. “We’re around 200 points plus and the other team’s 40 or 50. So that tells you the difference. That’s projections of course and you have to go out and get it done.”

A feat YSU will definitely accomplish this weekend is to become the first-ever Horizon League school to host the big three events of HL Cross Country Championships, HL Indoor Track and Field Championships and HL Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the same season.

“We’re pretty excited to complete that as well,” Gorby said. “But we told the kids — with over 20 events — if we go in and focus and execute and make no mental mistakes, we have a great shot to bring home one, if not two, championships.”

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