Hurdler sets new school record in the 60-meter race

The Waynesburg University women’s indoor track & field team competed in a pair of meets this past weekend.

A group of the distance runners for the Yellow Jackets participated in the Youngstown State University Mid-Major Invitational, while others competed in the Jim Wuske Invitational at Mount Union University. The invitationals did not host team scoring.

Head coach Michelle Cross split up the team for a strategic reason in the jumping and distance events.

“The main reason for the split was primarily for the men jumpers on the team,” said Cross. “Youngstown has a minimum qualifying mark for the jumping events, so I wanted to make everyone comfortable.”

For the elite women’s distance crew, the Mt. Union Invitational did not have the competition that Cross was looking for.

“The problem with Mount Union’s distance events, it leaves a lot to be desired in the 3,000-meters and 5,000-meter races,” said Cross. “There were a lot of women on the team that were having good practices and needed stronger competition.”

Freshman distance runner Aubrey Wingeart lead the Yellow Jackets distance crew, placing fifth with a time of 17:58.1 in the 5,000-meter race.

Senior distance runner Teghan Simonton, as well as sophomores Gianna Pugliano and Nicole Shelton, also had top 30 finishes in that event.

At Mt. Union, the Yellow Jackets had another successful day according to Cross. In the jumping events, Cross had high praise for sophomore Amber Yauch.

“Yauch is a very consistent and a reliable jumper for us,” said Cross. “Yauch’s performances continue to improve and I am very pleased with what she is doing.”

Yauch placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 10.23 meters (33-6.75). Yauch also competed in the long jump, finishing seventh with a distance of 4.88 meters (16-0.25).

In the track events, the Yellow Jackets had a school record performance from sophomore hurdler Katherine Fair.

Fair qualified for the 60-meter hurdle finals with a time of 9.9 seconds. In the finals, Fair ran a school record-breaking time of 9.76 seconds. Fair previously set the record in 2018 with a time of 9.79 seconds.

Fair attributes her successful race to the tough competition and her excitement to run.

“I was very excited to run against the competition,” said Fair. “There were really good and fast athletes there so it was exciting going against them.”

With it only being the third meet for the Yellow Jackets, Cross was not surprised that Fair set a new record but was surprised how early she did it.

“Fair was originally a mid-distance runner and was training that way last year, but we were not sure if that was the best fit,” said Cross. “We had Fair train with more sprint workouts and she morphed into a more explosive athlete, so it was a surprise it happened this early but I knew she would surpass it.”

Other key performers for the Yellow Jackets were sophomore Becca Volz and junior Katie Thompson in the 800-meter race coming in 12th and 13th place, respectively.

With strong success at the beginning of the season, the women’s track team has the next weekend off. The Yellow Jackets will be back in action Feb. 16 to compete in the Kenyon College Classic.