The Youngstown State women's track and field team will be looking to become the first school to win four consecutive Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships when the conference meet begins on Friday in Youngstown.
The Penguins have claimed titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and can become the first school in league history to win four consecutive with a team title this weekend. The meet is being held Friday-Sunday at Farmers National Bank Field and the throwing area near YSU's Courtyard Apartments.
The Penguins, who have won nine outdoor championships since 2004, return league championships Jaynee Corbett (discus and shot put) and Amber Eles (110m hurdles) from last year's championship team. YSU also won both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
YSU brings a strong lineup into this year's outdoor championships.
This year, the Guins have the two top performers in the 100m, top three in the 200m, two of the top four in the 400m, the top two in the 10,000m run, the leaders in the 100m and 400m hurdles, two of the top three in the high jump, two of the top four in the pole vault, the top two in the discus and hammer throw, two of the top three in the javelin and the leader in the shot put.
Leading the way in the 100m dash is freshman Jaliyah Elliott who has a league-best time of 11.60 seconds in the event. The Guins have won six straight 100m HL titles spearheaded by Ciara Jarrett (two) and Nina Grambling (four). Ranking second in the league is Taylor Thompkins who was second to Grambling a year ago.
In the 200m, Keishawnna Burts, Elliott and Thompkins ranks in the top three. Burts has the best time of 24.03 seconds and all have run under 24.70 seconds. Burts was third last year and Thompkins finished fourth at the HL meet. The Penguins have also won six straight 200m titles.
In the 400m dash, Burts is second behind Milwaukee's Kat Novacek. Burts' best performance this year is 56.22 seconds while freshman Iva Domitrovich is fourth at 56.89 seconds. YSU has never won the 400m at the outdoor championships.
Eles will be looking for a repeat title in the 100m hurdles. She has the top time in the league of 13.75 seconds, but will be in for a good race with Milwaukee's Melissa Kirchoff (13.81 seconds). The two runners took the top spots last year at the league meet.
YSU has a strong chance for its first-ever women's title in the 400m hurdles. Taylor McDonald leads the conference by almost four-and-a-half seconds in the event. McDonald ran a school-record time of 58.87 seconds earlier this year.
Last year, YSU won the 4x100m relay with a time of 46.51 seconds and won the 400m with a time of 3:47.79. The Penguins have won six 4x100m crowns and seven 4x400m races.
YSU will be strong in the field events led by the throwers and high jumpers.
In the high jump, Abby Jones leads the league with a school record 1.71m performance while Chenera Lacey is tied for second at 1.65m with Milwaukee's Rylee Anderson. YSU's last high jump winner was Ashley Wagner in 2013.
Corbett ranks first in the discus (46.22m), first in the shot put (15.45m) and second in the hammer throw (52.12m). Nicolette Kreatsoulas is first in the hammer throw (51.43m), second in the discus (45.55m) and third in the javelin (32.37m).
In the shot put, the Penguins have won eight straight titles and 11 of the last 12. Corbett is looking to become the second Guin to win the discus in consecutive years since Allison Roth in 2011 and 2012. The last YSU title in the hammer throw was in 2012.
Angela Lock leads the way in the javelin with a throw of 34.96m. YSU has won four of the last titles in the event.
Also for the Penguins, Ellie Pollock is second in the long jump, Caitlyn Trebella and Sarina Mauerman are third in the pole vault and Pollock and Savannah Osborne are fourth and fifth in the triple jump.
YSU has won three straight long jump titles and has one victory in the pole vault.