Because of his teams strong starts this season, Brian Gorby is optimistic about the future.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Halfway through the Youngstown State University men's and women's indoor track and field seasons, six school records have been broken.
Each weekend a different athlete has taken the lead, and pushed a YSU record mark further into the history books.
Head coach Brian Gorby said he is feeling good about the future of his teams, and in particular, about their upcoming performances at the Horizon League indoor track and field championships on Feb. 23-24 in Greencastle, Ind.
"On paper, both the men's and women's teams are looking to make a run at placing in the top three spots in the Horizon League," Gorby said. "We just need to be able to keep a good balance between team depth and individual talent in each event."
Top teams: Gorby said the women's team ranks with Detroit as the two top teams in the conference.
The women currently have six record-holding athletes on the team, with three records having been broken this year.
At Kent State, Emily Schnitkey broke the mile record in 5 minutes, 8.90 seconds, while the distance medley relay of Jen Moore, Schnitkey, Aaliyah Gillespie and Lindsay Frontz finished with a new record of 12:14. The record in the 1,000-meter run was set by Moore at the State Farm Games with a time of 3:00.19.
Giving the women a slight advantage over the Horizon League teams is their strength in the weight events. Delores Gaines, Danielle Sexton and Christina Campana all return for the Penguins this year.
Good transition: Gorby said the freshmen have made a smooth adjustment to college competition. In the sprint events, freshman Jeanna Cunningham has made an instant impact with top times of 7.46 in the 55-meter dash and 26.25 in the 200-meter event. Schnitkey has set the pace in the distance events and has a time in the 3,000 meters of 10:27.
The men's team is ranked in the top three in the league along with Detroit and UW-Milwaukee.
"The men are extremely talented but lack the depth that some of the other teams have. Although we are a young team, every guy just continues to improve every meet," Gorby added.
Eugene Harris comes into the championships as one of the premier sprinters in the league. His times of 6.50 in the 55-meter dash and 22.13 in the 200 meters are the best in the conference.
Dominating: Kurt Michaelis has been dominating the distance events, setting new records in the mile (4:10.99) and in the 1,000 meter run (2:30.32), while Nick Smith and Dan Cuesta have also been the team's top point-getters.
Paul Robinette holds the team's fastest times in the 3,000 meters (8:46.02) and 5,000 meters (10:04), while Nick Buzek and Tim Tatarka are also strong contenders in the distance events.
Back after a two-year break is Anwaa Martin, who holds the YSU mark in the high jump with a 6-9 leap. With Martin in the jumps and freshman Jarrod Davis leading the weight events, the Penguins hope the individual talent in the field will help score enough points to put the team in contention.