MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – In five short years, men's and women's track & field head coach Danielle Lynch has guided Penn State Harrisburg from a young upstart program to a group that has seen individuals compete on the national stage. Under Lynch's leadership, the Lions have produced four all-Americans, 11 NCAA national qualifiers, 13 conference champions, 18 all-conference honorees and two conference major award winners since the 2015-16 season. Lynch, her staff and a talented roster of men's and women's athletes will look to continue their recent run of success when they open the 2018-19 indoor campaign on Friday afternoon, Nov. 30.
Look Who's Back
The Lions will be led by an experienced group of returners that includes Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Rookie of the Year Sarah Lehman and all-conference honoree Rae Rae Taylor on the women's side, as well as two-time outdoor all-American Cameron Yon and NCAA outdoor qualifier Jalil Clayton for the men.
Lehman turned in one of the best freshman campaigns in the country a year ago, winning Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and CAC Championships in the triple jump, picking up Second-Team All-CAC recognition in the long jump and being named CAC Athlete of the Week to go along with her indoor rookie of the year accolade. The Mechanicsburg, Pa. native and Cumberland Valley grad immediately made her presence felt when she broke the CAC's triple jump record in her first collegiate outing last winter.
Taylor played the role of swiss army knife for the Blue & White as a freshman in 2017-18, scoring in a variety of events during her rookie outing. The Pottstown, Pa. native earned first-team all-conference honors after winning a CAC Championship in the long jump before taking bronze in the pentathlon at the ECAC Championship event. She also earned Second-Team All-CAC recognition after winning silver in the triple jump at the conference's championship meet.
Rachale Hair and Jamilyn Nimo are also back after turning in promising performances last season. Hair set the program record in the weight throw as a junior, while Nimo's freshman year included a school record-breaking effort in the shot put.
The men's team will also be in good hands thanks to the returns of versatile athlete Clayton, stud thrower Yon, jumper Alex White and distance runner Mekael Kassu. Clayton won the ECAC Championship in the 60m hurdles after winning bronze in both the 200m and 400m dashes at the CAC Championships last winter, while Yon holds program records in both the shot put and weight throw. White capped his strong indoor campaign with an ECAC Championship in the high jump and Kassu wrapped up his freshman season by setting the school record in the mile.
Penn State Harrisburg will also replenish some its depth with a pair of talented athletes joining the program for the first time this season. Freshman Aiyala McPhee is coming off a senior season at New Jersey's Pemberton High School that saw her qualify for the state finals in the 100m and 200m dashes, as well as the 4x100m relay before wrapping up her high school career at the Meet of Champions in June. Sophomore Neeyah Turner will begin working her way back to high school form that included SOL American Girls Track & Field All-League recognition in the 300m hurdles and 100/110m hurdles as a member of Cheltenham's program in 2016.
By the Numbers
1 – USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year honor earned by Sarah Lehman
2 – CAC Rookie of the Year Awards won by Sarah Lehman
4 – Years the track & field program has competed at the NCAA Division III level
4 – Combined USTFCCCA All-America honors earned by Sarah Lehman, Cameron Yon and Ashley Williams
11 – Penn State Harrisburg qualifiers for the NCAA Division III Indoor and Outdoor Championships
13 – CAC Championships won by Penn State Harrisburg student-athletes
18 – CAC All-Conference honors earned by Penn State Harrisburg student-athletes
Circle the Date
Nov. 30 – at Susquehanna
The Blue & White get 2018-19 started this weekend at SU's River Hawks Opener.
Jan. 25-26 – at Bucknell
The Lions will get the opportunity to compete with some of the best teams in the region, including schools from NCAA Division I and II, at Bucknell's Bison Open and Multi.
Feb. 15-16 – at CAC Championships
The best in the conference come together on the campus of Christopher Newport to compete for the final time before the Division III ECAC and NCAA Championship events.
The Lions open their 2018-19 indoor campaign at Susquehanna's River Hawks Opener on Friday afternoon, Nov. 30. The first events are set to get underway at 4 p.m.