The IUP men’s and women’s track team visited Youngstown State for its national invitational Friday, competing in their second meet of the season.
A host of other universities participated in the invitational, including Seton Hill University, Slippery Rock University and University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Despite the tough competition, the men’s team managed to post multiple qualifying times. Jeremy Claypoole (junior, kinesiology, health & sports science) finished first in the triple jump with a distance of 13.96 meters.
Austin Cooper (sophomore, regional planning) also had a big day for the Crimson Hawks, finishing first in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.78. Cooper was one of three to compete in the 800 along with Joe Lynch (graduate, kinesiology) and Andrew Morgan (junior, criminology), who both finished in the top 10. Lynch had an productive day for the Crimson Hawks, as his time of 1:56.05 was good for fifth place. Morgan finished eighth overall with a time of 1:57.56.
Head coach Joey Zins expects a lot from his team in the upcoming season, but it might take a while to get back into the swing of things.
“The first meet back from winter break is tough,” he said. “The team is training for five consecutive weeks, and it usually takes a few meets for everyone to be ready to perform at a high level.
“This meet will give the coaches a chance to see where everyone is coming off of the break.”
Despite the need for fine tuning, Zins expressed confidence in the team’s potential.
“We would like to improve upon our team’s overall places from last year’s conference championship,” he said. “We hope to qualify a lot of individuals for conference and also have a few individuals or a relay team qualify for the NCAA Championships in March.”
The women’s track team ended the day at the YSU Invitational with qualifying times, as well. Zhane Valmon (freshman, sociology) posted a time of 26.38 in the 200 meters, which was good for 13th overall. Kiah Walton (sophomore, environmental studies) qualified in the 60-meter preliminaries with a time of 9.53 secs. Jenna Lezanic (junior, regional planning) ran the 3000 meters and finished with a time of 10:51.28.
Looking to further build on a promising first meet, the Crimson Hawks will participate in the Penn State National at Penn State University Friday and Saturday.