The University of Dayton track and field team returns to Youngstown, Ohio, this weekend, after winning four individual events at the first of two Youngstown State Invitational meets on Friday, Jan. 25, and
Saturday, Jan. 26.
At the Youngstown Invite this past weekend, junior Lizzie Gleason won the 3000 meter run in a time of 10:03.52. She was followed by junior Nicole Cargill in second-place six seconds later.
Dayton also finished in the top three spots in the pole vault. Junior Hanna Krizmanic cleared a height of 3.75 meters to win, with sophomore Ashley DeMange and junior Katrina Steinhauser clearing 3.65 meters behind her.
In the weight throw, senior Renee Otte and redshirt sophomore Miranda Nelson occupied the top two positions. Freshman Chelsey VanHook won the 800 meter run by .21 seconds with a time of 2:19.10.
Unlike its predecessor, the second invitational held this weekend is a national event and includes only
Division I programs.
According to Dayton head coach Jason Francis, the team is ready for
“We did well last week,” Francis said. “But we are ready to go out and do even better against
Now in his second year with the program, Francis said he has seen nothing but improvement over the last several weeks at practice and in competition. Prior to last week’s YSU event, the Flyers had placed first just once.
“This weekend we need to step up and make it count,” Francis said. “We have a lot of leadership on this team this year. We have talent, too.”
According to junior Sarah Reynolds, the focus for the team right now is to improve in individual competition, rather than coming in first at
“With a new coaching staff, this is a big transition year for us,” she said. “It’s a learning experience for a lot of the girls, but [we’re already]
Reynolds, a distance runner for the team, said the team has a long term goal of housing a top-tier track and field program.
“We have been on the back-burner for a while … We want to be mentally ready to compete with those big name schools,” Reynolds said.
The Flyers will compete against several schools, including Duquesne University, Bucknell University, Valparaiso University and Ohio University during the meet this weekend. According to Reynolds, there is no reason the team can’t walk away with some big finishes.
“We have the potential to do well in a lot of these events; it’s just up to the runners,” she said.
Francis said that while it’s not necessarily a “practice season” for the program, he likes to think of indoor track as a way to fix problems before the main outdoor season arrives.
“With indoor running, the weather is always perfect,” he said. “There’s no wind or weather issues. That allows us to improve quickly.”
The Youngstown State National Invitational precedes Hoosier Hills, which will be held in Bloomington, Ind., on Feb. 8-9.
“We are looking forward to our upcoming schedule,” Francis said. “We are getting ready for the Atlantic 10 meet and I think we’re going to have a good year.”
Renyolds said she and her teammates agree with their and believe the future is bright for the program.
“We may not be the program we are trying to become by the end of this season,” Reynolds said. “But it’s still important that we don’t lose our