By Drew Zuhosky
The Youngstown State University track and field team began the 2014-15 indoor season with a strong showing at the YSU Icebreaker last December. The Penguins had 11 participants win their individual competitions. The success at the Icebreaker gave the Penguins early momentum and allowed YSU to continue their dominance in the Horizon League.
On Friday, Dec. 4, the team will begin the 2015-16 campaign with the annual YSU Icebreaker inside the Watson and Tressel Training Site.
Last year in the event, sprinter/hurdler Caleb Lloyd, now a sophomore, set a school record in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 8.13 seconds. Lloyd broke the previous mark of 8.22 seconds, which stood since 2009. Later in the season, Lloyd finished third in the 60-meter during the Horizon League Championships, clocking in at 8.26 seconds.
Additionally, sophomore sprinter I’tavious Harvin had a strong showing in his freshman campaign, finishing sixth in the indoor 200-meter of 22.16 seconds.
Brian Gorby, head coach for YSU’s track and field team, said Harvin gives the Penguins much-needed depth to their roster and would have to compete with a number of sprinters on the team for playing time on this year’s roster.
After last season, Gorby said the men’s team needed to improve if it was going to become a consistent competitor for the Horizon League Championships. Heading into this season, Gorby said the team has made those improvements and is one of the best teams in the history of the program.
“This is the most talented team ever to set foot in YSU history,” he said. “It’s the best sprint team, the best throws team, the best distance team. Our focus is going after the indoor and outdoor championships.”
There has been one important addition to the roster this season. Carl Zallow’s younger brother Chad Zallow has already had a decorated career as a track star. Chad Zallow declined offers from The Ohio State University, The University of Michigan, Penn State University and Notre Dame in order to run alongside his brother. Chad Zallow was the top track prospect in the nation before committing to YSU.
“I’m really excited to see if I do well with the team,” Chad Zallow said. “I think it’s going to be a great season. I’m just looking forward to it.”
As for the women, the trio of McKinsie, Michelle and Melissa Klim, all juniors, put in respectable times in distance runs. McKinsie Klim placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run in the indoor league championships, running the race in 17:43.56, following that up with an eighth place time of 18:22.31 in the outdoor 5,000-meter later that season.
Michelle Klim did not compete last season after sustaining a foot injury. Melissa Klim put in a career-best time in the 1,500-meter run of 5:22.48 during the outdoor championship after a ninth-place time of 18:30.53 in the 5,000-meter in the indoor championship.
Gorby took a moment to update Michelle Klim’s status.
“She’s not back up to full strength,” Gorby said. “The foot’s fine, but she just has some internal issues that she’s working on. She redshirted in cross-country, and she’s working to finally get back. She missed outdoor and cross-country last season.”
Sophomore women’s sprinter Nina Grambling discussed her mindset heading into the new campaign, one that won’t be too nerve-wracking for her.
“There’s a lot of excitement for me,” Grambling said. “I’m really excited to see what my girls are going to do this year. A lot of them are still young, still trying to come up, but they’ve shown a lot of improvement already so I’m really excited about seeing what I can push them to do.”