The Youngstown State University women’s cross-country team hoisted their first Horizon League Championship trophy in pure exhilaration on Saturday afternoon.
The women’s team had three runners finish in the top five at the Horizon League Championship in Boardman: senior Anna Pompeo finished second (18:02), senior Samantha Hamilton placed fourth (18:20) and freshman McKinsie Klim came in fifth (18:39).
Hamilton, Pompeo and Klim all earned Women’s All-League First-Team honors while Klim was also awarded Women’s Freshman of the Year.
Pompeo was brief when explaining how it felt to be an All-League First-Team representative. She said it was an honor to symbolize YSU.
“It feels great to be the first to do this for cross county,” Pompeo said. “I think we are the best.”
At first, Klim felt as if collegiate sports were going to overwhelm her. She didn’t feel very comfortable coming to YSU as a freshman, but has now found her place.
“It was scary going into college sports because I didn’t know how different it was going to be,” Klim said. “But I really enjoy my team.”
Klim said Brian Gorby, head coach and Women’s Coach of the Year, knew she had the talent to go for the awards. She said she kind of just won the award and didn’t set her sights on it.
“Gorby said I could, but I wasn’t sure,” Klim said. “I was really nervous going into it.”
Klim said she was shocked that she won All-League First-Team honors and the Women’s Freshman of the Year Award and that she hadn’t even known that she won when the race was done.
“I didn’t know I was Freshman of the Year when I finished the race.” Klim said.
Even though individual awards are great, the Penguins really key in on how important teamwork is.
“This team is special,” Pompeo said. “This race really wasn’t about individuals; it was more about the team as a whole.”
YSU had five athletes finish in the top 15. Besides Klim, Pompeo and Hamilton, junior Brittany Stockmaster finished 12th (19:12) while freshman Libby Rogenski placed 13th (19:14).
The Penguins will be up and ready to race for the Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. in Madison, Wis. The Penguins are ranked 14th in the Great Lakes Region. Gorby said that puts his team around 50th or 60th in the country overall.