The Penguins last won the title in 1996.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University will play host to perhaps the most prestigious track and field meet in its history this week, when the Penguins entertain the Mid-Continent championships Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Qualifying rounds and finals in the heptathlon, decathlon, 10,000- meter run and hammer throw will get the meet underway Thursday at 9 a.m. and should be completed by 6 p.m.
Friday, more qualifying rounds and finals in distance races and field events are scheduled from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and Saturday's finals for track and field events will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Penguins last won outdoor men's and women's Mid-Con title in 1996, and finished fourth in both divisions last year.
Free admission: Admission to the meet is free all days. YSU coach Brian Gorby is hopeful the home advantage will produce some positive results for the Penguins.
"Its always nice to have fans cheering on our athletes giving them momentum," said Gorby. "We are hoping the hometown crowd will help push us to the podium."
Missouri-Kansas City, Southern Utah and Oral Roberts dominated the top three spots in the men's and women's divisions last year.
"For the past few years we have been working on rebuilding the teams to earn a championship and changing conferences is leaving us with some unfinished battles," said Gorby.
The YSU women's team goes into the meet with depth in every event. Freshmen Laura Schatz and Lauren Girdler have both set school records in field events.
Schatz has reached 5 feet, 5 inches in the high jump, and Girdler has a mark of 147-4 in the hammer throw.
YSU's Andrea Snyder has the top Mid-Con time in the 10,000 (37 minutes, 05.28 seconds) and she will be a threat in the 5000 (18:01.58) and 3000 steeplechase (11:57.29).
The sprints, mid-distance and distance races rely on senior leadership from Annabelle Hunt, Jo-Lein Ocasio-Quarles, Marcy Reinbolt and Andrea Snyder.
Top thrower: Sophomore Josh Hacker has the top discus throw in the Mid-Con this season (175-1), which is a YSU school record.
Eugene Harris (10.67) of YSU, Western Illinois' Desmond Byrum (10.61) and Oral Roberts Dedrick Marsh (10.62) and YSU's Edwin Jackson (10.91) are entered in an outstanding 100 field.
Freshman Kurt Michaelis of YSU has the conference's top time in the 1500 (3:49.45) and he should be among the top contenders in the 800 (1:55) and 3000 steeplechase (9:37.18).
"The men's team has more individual standouts across the board," Gorby said. "Individually, this is probably the most talented group of athletes we have had."