The YSU's men track and field squad won their first-ever Horizon League Outdoor Championship as they were once again in another close battle against the Milwaukee Panthers for the title at the Farmers National Bank Field this weekend.
The final scores of the meet were YSU with 199 points, Milwaukee had 189 points for second place, Detroit had 105 points to take third, UIC scored 76 points to have fourth place, Valparaiso came up with 41 points for fifth, and Oakland took sixth with 38 points.
The Guins who earned Horizon League Performance Awards at today's meet were Arnaldo Morales who won the Horizon League Men's Field Freshman of the Year, Austin McLean who took home the HL Most Outstanding Performer for Track. The Penguins also had sophomore Conner Neu win the HL Most Outstanding Performer for Men's Field, Eric Rupe received the HL Individual Scoring Award and Head Coach Brian Gorby who won the Coach of the Year.
Youngstown State had been leading the Horizon League meet all weekend but on the final day it turned out to be a close while also exciting last couple of events. YSU had the lead throughout the third day but lost it to Milwaukee near the end of the meet as the points tallied up to 178-173. Distance runners Rupe and McLean came on to save the day for the Penguins as they competed in the second to last event of the meet in the 5,000-meter run.
Rupe ended up taking first place for the Guins as he took command of the pack of runners half way through the race and McLean wasn't giving up just yet as he hung around until the end of the race to seize his opportunity and help his team. He did so by kicking his pace up a notch at the last 100 meters of the race to sneak right by freshman Andrew Bowman of Oakland to finish in second place beating Bowman by just .10 seconds. Rupe ran the race in a time of 15:09.25 and McLean finished with a time of 15:12.22 giving the Penguins 18 huge points and securing first place going into the last event, the 4x400 meter relay.
Along with Rupe, Neu was the only other Penguin to win an individual championship title to help his teammates win their first-ever outdoor title on the last day of the Horizon League Championship.
Neu began the day for the Penguins on a solid note as he won the hammer with a throw of 64.22 meters. He also broke the Horizon League record for the hammer throw that was set by Steve Bartholomew in 2008 by 2.7 meters. His teammate senior Bobby Grace did most of his damage on day two with the title win in the shot put but was also able to get some points in the hammer throw with a fourth-place finish with a toss of 55.57 meters.
In the 1,500 meter run Rupe and McLean were at it again as they finished in second and third ahead of Milwaukee's Sam Leschisin and Caleb Abfall. Rupe came in second place running a time of 3:58.34 barely losing to winner Tonny Sustachek of Milwaukee who ran a time of 3:58.15. McLean finished right behind Rupe in third place as he was able to run around the track in a time of 3:59.00.
Sophomore runners Dalyn Gattison and Marcellus Embry competed in the 100-meter dash for the Guins and managed to finish with some points. Gattison running a time of 10.92 seconds finished in fifth place as Embry finished right behind in sixth place with a time of 11.02 seconds. Gattison ran in the final heat of the 200-meter dash as well and finished in sixth for the Penguins at a time of 22.03 seconds which would set his new personal best in the 200 meter.
Sprinters Robin Hall, John Helms and Marquis Williamson were among the top six in the 400-meter dash. Hall finished the race in a time of 48.36 seconds to finish in third. Helms and Williamson had their fastest times of the season in the race as Helms placed in fourth (48.55) and Williamson finished in sixth with a time of 49.14 seconds.
YSU freshman William Royal had his best jump of the year in the triple jump today as he had a leap of 13.60 meters to beat his old personal best by .84 meters and to finish in fourth place giving the YSU men four more points to their total.
Junior Nick Gliha was the other runner in the 5,000 meter race that scored points to help Youngstown State secure first place at the end of the meet. He ran a time of 15:19.80 to beat sophomore runner Gerrit Bruni of Milwaukee to finish in sixth. Junior Clay Febus ran in the men's 400-meter hurdles and snuck in the top six by running his fastest time of the year (55.17 seconds) to finish in fifth place.
As the women did in the relays, the men also finished in third place in both the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays. The men had their fastest time of the year in the 4x100 meter relay as Helms led off for the Penguins to then hand off the baton to Embry, who gave it to freshman Joshua Lever, and then followed by Gattison. Williamson, Helms, Febus and Hall were the participants in the 4x400 meter relay as they ran the race in a time of 3:19.32.
The Panthers had won 10 straight Horizon League Outdoor titles and 15 of the 16 all-time. YSU had been second Milwaukee on five occasions, but this time was able to slip past the Panthers and claim its second overall (2002 Indoor) Horizon League title.
Final Team Scores
1. YSU - 199
2. Milwaukee - 189
3. Detroit - 105
4. UIC - 76
5. Valparaiso - 41
6. Oakland - 38