Riddled with injury, Jackets finish third at PAC indoor championships

Going into Thursday’s Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championship meet, everyone knew it would be tough.

The Yellow Jackets’ women’s track & field team had been breaking down the numbers for weeks, and it hasn’t always been the brightest of results.

“Going into the meet we were about 13 points off from first,” head coach Michelle Cross said, “So we knew that going for it would be difficult, but it was also possible.”

The Yellow Jackets were projected to finish in second, right behind the Westminster Titans. However, Waynesburg finished in a distant third and just a hair above fourth.

Despite the disappointing finish, Cross is proud of her girls for battling through adversity

“Because of sickness and injury, going into last week, we had to scale back the events of several athletes,” Cross said. “And there were several that didn’t run anything they were supposed to because of upper respiratory infections.”

For junior captain Kat Fair, several athletes were willing to make a sacrifice to compete for a championship.

“Aubrey [Wingeart] competed in the three longest events and was on the podium for all three,”  Fair said. “Kat Henderson competed in all three jumps and came back and ran the 200, and she placed in the top eight for at least two of her events”

Wingeart competed in the 3,000-meter run, the 1600-meter run and the 5,000-meter run, with two first-place finishes and one second-place finish. On the field side, Henderson competed in all three jumps, finishing fourth in long jump and third in the high jump.

Cross said the multiple event load isn’t for everybody and that it pushes individuals to their absolute limits.

“Our girls are very tough,” she said. “Especially mentally, and will push themselves through circumstances that would break others. It’s hard to lose when you decide to go for it, but it doesn’t lessen how impressive some of those performances were. I would rather have that every day than to just settle and accept second.”

With the indoor season now in the rearview mirror, the team gets a chance at a short break and prepares for the outdoor portion, which will bring about several changes.

“I think the rest will be good for everyone,” Cross said. “It was a long day, disappointing to go for something and not get it. But outdoor always goes better for us because we can stretch people a little better over two days.”

Despite falling short in Youngstown, the guts the team showed excites Fair for the outdoor season.

“We have a couple of events during outdoor that many of our girls score well in,” Fair said. “I’m excited to see out newest members get a chance to be able to practice and compete more during outdoor.”