Henderson, Matthews bring back gold in PAC Championship

By Seth Evans

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (Feb. 26) – On Thursday, Feb. 23, Waynesburg University sent its men’s and women’s Indoor Track & Field teams to Youngstown State University to compete in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship for the indoor season, bringing back a lot of hardware.

“The PAC indoor championships is a building block for our outdoor season,” head coach Chris Hardie said. “But we cannot overlook the effort that the athletes put in in preparation for this meet, as well as the determination and resiliency they showed on Thursday.” 

Several of Hardie’s athletes placed in varied events throughout the day, with the women’s side being headlined by senior Katherine Henderson. Henderson took gold in the long jump with a mark of 5.57 meters, setting the new PAC record. She also placed in three other events; the high jump, the triple jump, and the 60-meter hurdles, placing third, third, and fifth respectively. 

Performances like these are a key factor to Henderson’s day being capped off by being named PAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for a second-straight year.

“Not only is Henderson an amazing athlete, but she has all of the internal characteristics of an elite athlete,” Hardie said. “Hard work, dedication, resolve, adaptability….she is the total package as an athlete.”

Hardie added that despite such performances and subsequent results, there are things to still “refine,” going to show how much better Henderson can still be.

As for the men’s team, its efforts were highlighted by junior Isaiah Mathews, who posted top-three performances in both the 60 and 200-meters sprints. Mathews took bronze in the latter and gold in the former with a time of 6.97 seconds.

“From the first step on the track this fall/winter, he has been on a mission,” Hardie said regarding Matthews. “He knew he was one of the top sprinters in the conference and he wanted to show that to the rest of the conference on Thursday.” 

Hardie believes that there is still so much more he sees Mathews wanting to accomplish as his athletes begin transitioning into the outdoor season.

Before they can start that however, the Yellow Jackets have one more indoor meet on the docket, as they will travel to Ohio Northern University on March 4 for the Polar Bear Final Qualifier, which will lie as one final opportunity for Hardie’s athletes to book a ticket to the National Tournament. 

With one more competition set before the outdoor season begins, Hardie remains optimistic about how his team is peaking at the right time.

“The team is progressing, and they need to keep that in mind as we move towards the outdoor season,” Hardie said. “If they continue to work hard and focus on what’s important, they can accomplish anything they set their mind to.”