YSU track teams honored at Curbstone

BEAVER TOWNSHIP – When the early 20th century American philosopher, William Durant, restated Aristotle’s thoughts by noting “success breeds success,” he must have had the Youngstown State men’s and women’s track and field, and cross country programs in mind.

Since taking over the reins of the Penguins’ cross country program 31 years ago – he became head track coach two years later in 1995 – head coach Brian Gorby has overseen six programs – men’s and women’s cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field – that have produced 59 league championships in the former Mid-Continent Conference and its current Horizon League affiliation.

For his efforts, Gorby has been named conference coach of the year a record 57 times.

This year, the YSU men won their second consecutive triple crown and fifth overall, running away with the league’s cross country title in the fall and both indoor-outdoor crowns this spring.

“Our men’s indoor team dominated by scoring an incredible 275 points, which broke the Horizon League record of 242 set by Notre Dame in 1985,” Gorby told the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s meeting at Avion Banquet Center. “That effort shows what type of dynasty the Penguins have become as we dominated all five event areas at a national level. Those areas include jumps, sprints-hurdles, throws, vault and distance in cross country as we crushed Notre Dame’s all-time record.”

Under Gorby’s leadership, his men’s cross country team has eight championship rings, the women’s cross country team four while the men’s indoor team has 10 league titles — they have won the last nine in a row — and the Penguins’ women’s team 12 indoor championships with the women’s and men’s outdoor teams authoring 16 and nine league championships, respectively.

“We have a world-class staff doing a great job developing our incoming state champion athletes to compete at Power 5 levels,” Gorby added. “We operate during the regular season at a Power 5 level, flying to the University of Miami (FL), North Carolina State, Boston College and Oregon, among other title-contending schools to lift up our team to a national championship caliber level of play.”

Gorby’s cross country assistants include brother Keith Gorby, Eric Rupe and Bre [Bakan] Rupe with all three joining David Townsend, Rick Penniman, Arnaldo Morales and Jake Glass on the track side of the ledger.

Two weeks ago, Gorby and staff sent 12 team members to the first-round of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held at the University of Kentucky.

Luke Laubacher, an All-American in the 110 Hurdles and Esther Solarin, a triple jump All-American, lifted YSU to the national championships for the eighth straight year, which were held last week in Eugene, Oregon.

Also, Tye Hunt led the World-United States in the long jump in December-January with a leap of 26 feet, four inches, just two inches shy of the great Jesse Owens’ personal best and four feet better than his top high school leap.

Salem’s Hunter Christopher was a big part of YSU’s back-to-back triple crowns, winning the cross country, indoor 5K and outdoor 10K titles.

Both Hunt and teammate Jakari Lomax are on the bubble for the upcoming Olympic Trials, which will also take place in Eugene.

In addition to the Penguins’ team and individual exploits, Gorby, in conjunction with Mill Creek Park, has begun a huge undertaking that he hopes will help transform a portion of the Canfield Fairgrounds into a permanent cross country course.

“We have been working with Mill Creek Park to develop a permanent, No. 1 cross country course at the Canfield Fairgrounds, all designed to fit NCAA championship specifications,” Gorby said. “The goal is to host the NCAA national cross country championships in 2028 whereby the nation’s top teams, the likes of Arkansas, Texas and Oregon will be traveling to Youngstown to compete. This has been my personal project with Mill Creek Park, my daughter Jersey works as an engineer and she has helped with developing the course.

“We have produced a video and sent it to coaches as it would be one of the top courses nationwide when finished. We would be able to host 160 teams if approved and it would be a big attraction for the area in many ways, from lodging to eating at area restaurants to shopping, among other things.”

With his 59 team titles, Gorby ranks second all-time to Arkansas head coach John McDonell, who has won 83 (37 Southwest Conference, 46 Southeast Conference) crowns, including 34 consecutive cross country (27 indoor, 22 outdoor) titles.

He is second to Gorby, however, with just 49 league coach of the year laurels.

Next week, the organization is set to honor all scholastic state individual and team spring champions.

Have an interesting story? Contact the Sports Department by email at sports@tribtoday.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribChronSports.


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