YSU track and field stars shine at WATTS

Former Poland thrower places fourth

in YSU Mid-Major Invitational

By Dan Hiner



Youngstown State thrower Nicolette Kreatsoulas came out of retirement for the final day of the YSU National Mid-Major Invitational.

Kreatsoulas had one day to practice the shot put, but still finished fourth in the event with a throw of 13.19 meters on Saturday at the Watson and Tressel Training Site.

The Poland graduate hadn’t participated in the shot put since her freshman year. But her effort highlighted a stellar performance by YSU’s field teams and distance runners over the weekend.

“I’m very excited. I’m very happy with how my season’s going and I know I’m only going to progress from here,” Kreatsoulas said.

“I can’t say anything bad about it.”

Kreatsoulas, a senior, won the weight throw with a toss of 16.95m on Friday to start her weekend.

YSU sophomore Kaitlyn Merwin won the shot put with a toss of 14.15m.

The YSU men took the top three spots in the shot put. Dom Westbay won the event with a 17.33m while Brandon Orlando (16.93m) finished second and Zach Gehm (15.85m) came in third.

Austintown Fitch graduate Joe Pfeffer finished fourth for the Penguins in the men’s weight throw on Friday, recording a 16.34m.

“The women went first, so they got us [a feeling for] what our systems were like and got us going,” YSU throws coach Megan Tomei said.

“Our guys allowed us to finish strong too. It was a good weekend for both groups.”

In the men’s jumps, Daiquain Watson won the triple jump with a leap of 14.20m and tied for second in the high jump with a 1.90m. Samuel Challis finished second in the triple jump with an attempt of 13.76m.

On the women’s side, Abby Jones won the high jump with a 1.69m and Kira Neef finished second with 1.66m. Jessica Stever recorded a 5.42m in the long jump, finishing in second.

A pair of Boardman graduates led the YSU men’s distance team.

Senior Alan Burns came in third in the 3000m with a time of 8:41.36 and freshman Chris Butler finished second in the mile, clocking a 4:19.59. Howland graduate Ryan Sullivan ran unattached in the mile, finishing third with a 4:19.68.

“Distance is definitely evolving this year,” Butler said.

“This is the best distance squad we’ve had in years. [YSU head coach Brian Gorby] says it all the time, ‘This is the best distance squad we’ve had at YSU yet.’”

YSU performed well in the sprint events despite quiet days from Chad Zallow and Collin Harden.

Jaliyah Elliott and Suerethia Henderson finished first and second respectively in the 60m and 200m. McDonald graduate Iva Domitrovich ran a 58.92m to finish fourth in the 400m.

Elliott and Zallow set the meet records on Saturday. Elliot ran a 7.38 in the 60m while Zallow won the men’s 200m — his only event — with a 21.37.

Harden was scheduled to run in the 400m and the 60m hurdles. He didn’t participate in the 400 and didn’t finish the hurdles.

Gorby called the two-day event “moving day.” He wanted all his participants to move up the Horizon League charts with the conference championships three weeks away. Gorby saw that improvement in the distance runners.

“The distance squad had a huge weekend,” Gorby said. “Everybody that ran the 5000m and 3000m improved or set a [personal best]. We had about 11 PBs on the distance side of things.”

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