Men's and Women's Cross Country Head Coach Brian Gorby has led both the men's and women's programs to Horizon League Championships since 2014. The men earned their first league-title in 2016 while the women claimed consecutive crowns in 2013 and 2014.
Gorby, who concluded his 24th season at the helm of both programs in 2017, has had led the Guins to their strongest seasons in school history the past five falls.
In 2016, the men's team had an impressive win to earn their first conference title since 1997 and first since the program joined the Horizon League. YSU won the event by 20 points ahead of UIC with Ryan Sullivan placing third to lead the way. All of the Guins' top-five runners placed in the top 14. At the HL meet, the women placed fourth led by McKinsie Klim's third-place finish.
The men concluded the 2016 campaign with their best finish in school history at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional placing 15th. Sullivan again led the way with a with a 32nd-place finish.
In 2015, Austin McLean became the second YSU male runner in three years to win the Horizon League Championship. As a group, the Penguins finished second, just one point behind Oakland in the team standings. McLean and Ryan Sullivan were first-team all-conference honorees while Alan Burns and Ethan Wilson were second-team all-league picks.
The men were ranked in the regional rankings for the first time in the program's history and won the Disney World Cross Country Classic and the Penn State Open. McLean also set a course record at Akron's Tommy Evans Invitational. YSU ended the year with a school-best finish at the Great Lakes Regional with a 17th-place finish.
The 2014 campaign saw the YSU women earn their second consecutive Horizon League Championship beating Milwaukee by 13 points. The men had all seven runners place in the top 25 as McLean capped off an impressive season with a third-place finish. Anna Pompeo placed second for the women at the league meet.
At the 2014 championships, the women had two first-team all-league selections in Pompeo and McKinsie Klim, who placed seventh. YSU's top-five runners all placed in the top 26 to earn the title.
For the year, McLean led the men in all six races and had individual wins at the Duquesne Duals and the Disney Cross Country Classic. He placed a strong 60th at the Great Lakes Regional with a school-record time of 31:29 in the 10K race.
In 2013, the women had three runners finish in the top five to win their first-ever Horizon League Championship. The men were led by individual winner Eric Rupe, the first Penguin male ever to win a conference cross country title.
On a cool and wet day at Boardman High School in early November, the Guins rode a wave of support to have a banner day.
Leading the women was Pompeo who was second while Samantha Hamilton was fourth and McKinsie Klim was fifth. Overall, the Penguins had five placers in the top 15 to defeat UIC by 22 points. Brittany Stockmaster was 12th and Libby Rogenski was 13th.
For the men, Rupe ran a time of 25:41 to take the men's title by nine seconds. McLean was fifth while Gliha placed 12th as the Guins grabbed second place by three points.
To conclude the year, the women finished an impressive 19th out of 33 schools at the Great Lakes Regional while the men were 23rd. Pompeo was an impressive 42nd to pace the women while Rupe finished 71st to lead the men.
During the 2013 campaign, Rupe won three events in three different months. He opened the year by becoming the first Penguin to win Akron's Tommy Evans Invitational, then in October, he took first place at the Disney World Cross Country Classic.
The women's program had a strong year from beginning to end. In her first race since 2011, Hamilton won the BGSU Mel Brodt Invitational on a warm day in September. Hamilton followed up that race with a sixth-place finish in the top race at the Notre Dame Invitational. At the Disney World Classic, Pompeo finished sixth with a time of 17:45.70.
YSU had a strong finish at the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet. Hamilton was third with a time of 20:41.07 while Pompeo was 10th at 21:22.57. In the race, the Penguins finished ahead of such schools as Texas Tech, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kent, Akron, and Clemson.
Since joining the Horizon League, the men have had 17 all-league selections, highlighted by five in 2016, four in 2015 and three in 2013. The Guins had four second-team selections to join first-team recipient Sullivan in 2016. Before the 2013 meet, the previous high finishes for the program were third in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007. The Penguins were again third in 2014.
The women's previous best league finish was second in 2011. Additionally, YSU was third in 2003 and 2012 while placing fourth in 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2016.
The women have had 24 all-conference honorees since 2001. Emily Schnitkey (Cicero) and Hamilton concluded their careers as the only two three-time first-team all-league honorees in school history. Schnitkey (2001), Lisa Davies (2003) and McKinsie Klim (2013) were named freshmen of the year while Gorby was Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2014. Davies and Pompeo (twice) each placed second at the HL meet in their careers.
Prior to joining the Horizon League in 2001, the Penguins had their share of success in the Mid-Con under Gorby. The men won cross country championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996 while the women's squad won the league title in 1997.
In 1997, Laura Thomas and Andrea Cohol paced the women to their first-ever conference crown. Thomas became YSU's first individual cross country champion and Cohol finished third as the Penguins won by an impressive 16 points over Southern Utah. YSU had finished as the runners up the previous three years. Gorby was tabbed Coach of the Year in 1997. In 1999, Cohol was the Mid-Con individual champ.
For the men, YSU won the 1994 Mid-Con Cross Country title behind Mark Brady's second-place finish and a sixth-place effort from Donn Craig. Brady's runner-up placing is still the best by a male cross country runner in school history until Rupe finished first in 2013.
Brady placed fifth a year later in 1995 while Craig and Folk finished in the top 10 to lead YSU to its second straight conference crown. In 1996, Folk finished third at the cross country championship meet while Chris Emory and Brady both finished in the top 10 to start the winning trend. YSU was second in 1991 and 1998. Gorby was named Coach of the Year all three times the men won the conference crown.
Honors in the Mid-Con for YSU included Jeremy Riehm (Newcomer of the Year in 2000), Brady (Newcomer of the Year in 1994), Thomas (Athlete of the Year in 1997) and Andrea Cohol (Athlete of the Year in 1999). The men had 20 combined all-conference honorees from 1991-2000 while the women had 14 from 1992-2000.
After earning three letters as an athlete from 1987-90, Gorby served as an assistant coach in both cross country and track before being promoted to the helm of the cross country program in August of 1993. He was named head track and field coach in July of the following year.
As a noted distance runner himself, Gorby has competed in several marathons. He has a personal-best time of 2 hours and 26 minutes.
He received his doctorate in educational leadership in 2003 from Youngstown State after earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1990 and a master’s in physical education in 1994.
Gorby and his wife, Charlotte, reside in Austintown, with their daughter Jersey and son Beau.