By Drew Zuhosky
As the weather cools down, the Watson and Tressel Training Site heats up for the indoor portion of the Youngstown State University track and field season. It all begins on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. with the YSU Icebreaker at the facility.
Head coach Brian Gorby says his team’s been training for months for this event.
“A lot of our sprinters, jumpers and throwers have been practicing all season long from pretty much August with conditioning and they’ve been doing 15 hours a week of conditioning for six to eight weeks,” he said. “We’re looking, of course, for everybody to come out and put something on paper and we’ll get a pretty good idea what to do as far as our next meet in five weeks.”
A year ago, the team had a strong showing at the event, anchored by Chenera Lacey, who took the high jump with a jump of 1.71 meters, which matched the event record for the WATTS Center.
Sophomore jumper Mackenzie Sturtz took a moment to discuss Lacey’s intangibles.
“Chenera’s a really strong competitor who helps me compete against her, pushing me to go farther than I could go by myself,” she said.
Jennifer Neider, like Sturtz, believes that Lacey is a strong athlete.
“I think she’ll do very well,” she said. “She’s a good asset to our team and she helped us win our championship last season.”
Neider took the shot put event last year with a throw of 13.82 meters, while Jaynee Corbett took third-place honors with a throw of 13.02 meters.
In the one-mile event, Megan Monte, now a senior, clocked in with a fifth-place time of 5:42, and in the 400-meter run. The club had two runners clock in with times in the top five, Jennifer Shiley finished with the winning time of 57.95 seconds.
Gorby took time to praise both teams on their high finishes in the cross country championships.
“Our women are coming off of winning the championship and the men finished in third place,” he said. “For the women, that’s called the ‘Triple Crown,’ ‘Quadruple Crown’ right now. We’re hoping to see our women come off that cross country championship and see some good performances.”
Gorby pointed to junior thrower Conner Neu as the best men’s field athlete.
“Conner is somebody who was an All-American last year as a sophomore, and he’s one of the top 12 in the country,” he said.
Neider points to the throwers and jumpers as the best field athletes on the team.
“I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily one specific person who’s the best field athlete,” Neider said. “I think that we’re all strong as a whole.”
Neider, whose strongest event is the shot put, has clear expectations for the Icebreaker.
“I just want to come out and win it as I have in the past two years, throwing 45, 46 feet,” she said.
For the women, Gorby pointed to Neider, a shot-putter, as one of the best field athletes.
Gorby’s expectations for the indoor season are the same as they’ve been for a decade — continuing the program’s winning tradition.
“We’ve been either first or second place on the women’s side for 10 straight years, during which time we’ve also been either first, second, third or fourth place on the men’s side,” he said. “In the last five years, we’ve been pretty much first or second on the men’s side. We want to give ourselves a shot to win the championship and bring it home to YSU. We’ve won 23 titles and 27 runner-ups, so we want to build on that.”