Men Return Five League Champions; Look To Defend Title

Eric Rupe and YSU will look to defend their Outdoor Championship.
Eric Rupe and YSU will look to defend their Outdoor Championship.

The Youngstown State men's track and field team returns five Horizon League event champions from last year's title-winning team as the Penguins open defense of their crown on Friday. The host site this year will be Rochester, Mich., on the Oakland campus.

Returning champs from last year include Eric Rupe who won the 5,000 meters, Austin McLean who won the steeplechase, Conner Neu who won the hammer throw, Arnaldo Morales who won the high jump and Jay Jakovina who won the long jump.

YSU claimed the title last year with a strong performance to snap Milwaukee's streak of 11 straight wins. The Penguins outscored the Panthers 199-189 a year ago for the victory.

This will be the first championship competition away from Youngstown since May 2013.

This year the Guins have another strong all-around lineup and will be looking to pile up the points in the sprints, distance, jumps and throwing events to repeat as league champions.

The Penguins have three of the top sprinters of the league in Carl Zallow, Leighton Antonio and Marcellus Embry.

In the 100m dash, Zallow has best time at 10.51 seconds, Antonio is second at 10.60 seconds and Embry third 10.64 seconds. In the 200m dash, the group ranks second through fourth in the league led by Zallow's 21.42 seconds. Antonio's best time is 21.43 seconds while Embry is fourth at 21.57 seconds. The 4x100-meter relay will be hottly conteste with Milwaukee, YSU and Oakland all tightly bunched.

In the hurdles, Sam Shaviss, Caleb Lloyd and Clay Febus are all in the top five. Shaviss leads the way at 15.06 seconds.

Rupe and McLean are 1-2 in the 1,500 meters and the steeplechase. Rupe has the best time in the 1,500m at 3:51.28 while McLean is second at 3:51.59. In the steeplechase, McLean is first in the event with a time of 8:53.17 while Rupe is at 9:03.20. Their closest competition is 11 seconds behind.

The 5,000-meter run could be a way for the Guins to pickup some key points with Nick Gliha sitting fourth, Rupe fifth and Ryan Sullivan sixth in the pack as of race time. Sullivan ranks second in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 31:38.39. However, only four of the accepted entries have a time in the event.

In the high jump, Morales had a season-best leap of 2.12 meters which was indoors at Akron earlier this year. Jakovina sits fourth in the event. Morales also ranks second in the long jump with a leap of 6.72 meters. 

Neu is second in the hammer throw with a best toss of 61.60m and trails Detroit's Colin Cashner (63.40m) in the event. Joe Dixon is second in the javelin with a best throw of 58.12 meters. Freshman Ryan Booth has the second-best shot put throw at 16.52 meters.

Garrett Mathias is third in the pole vault clearing a height of 4.35 meters and Fillian Lee is fourth in the triple jump.

Horizon League Outdoor Championships Schedule of Events

Friday, May 1
10 a.m. - Decathlon
10:30 a.m. - Heptathlon
3 p.m. - Discus (Men/Women)*
5 p.m. - Javelin (Men/Women)*
7 p.m. - 10,000m run (Women)
7:45 p.m. - 10,000m run (Men) 

Saturday, May 2
9 a.m. - Decathlon
9:30 a.m. - Heptahlon
Noon - Shot Put (Women)*
Noon - Long Jump (Men)
Noon - High Jump (Women)
2 p.m. - Pole Vault (Women)
3 p.m. - 110m/100m Hurdle Prelims (Women/Men)
400m Prelims (Women/Men)
100m Prelims (Women/Men)
800m Prelims (Women/Men)
400m Hurdles Prelims (Women/Men)
200m Prelims (Women/Men)
Steeplechase Finals (Women/Men)
4 p.m. - Shot Put (Men)*
Long Jump (Women)
5 p.m. - Pole Vault (Men)

Sunday, May 3
10 a.m. - Hammer Throw (Women)*
Triple Jump (Women)
High Jump (Men)
Noon - 4x100m relay (Women)
12:05 p.m. - 4x100m relay (Men)
12:10 p.m. - 1,500m (Women)
12:25 p.m. - 1,500m (Men)
12:40 p.m. - 100m Hurdles (Women)
12:50 p.m. - 110m Hurdles (Men)
1 p.m. - Hammer Throw (Men)*
1 p.m. - Triple Jump (Men)
1 p.m. - 400m (Women)
1:05 p.m. - 400m (Men)
1:15 p.m. - 100m (Women)
1:20 p.m. - 100m (Men)
1:25 p.m. - 800m (Women)
1:30 p.m. - 800m (Men)
1:40 p.m. - 400m Hurdles (Women)
1:50 p.m. - 400m Hurdles (Men)
2 p.m. - 200m (Women)
2:05 p.m. - 200m (Men)
2:10 p.m. - 5,000m (Women)
2:30 p.m. - 5,000m (Men)
2:55 p.m. - 4x400m relay (Women)
3:05 p.m. - 4x400m relay (Men)