Track and Field laces up for indoor season at YSU Icebreaker



Mihaela Toader,’23, competing at the NCAC Outdoor Championship last year on May 6, where she was crowed leader of the conference for the 400-meter race. She outlegged her opponents and crossed the finish line at 58.32 seconds, the second fastest time in Gator history for that event.

Mihaela Toader, ’23, is back in the building, returning for her final season on the track with the Gators. After putting up monster numbers throughout her junior campaign, she shows no signs of slowing up this year. Toader boasted a personal record in the indoor 400 meter dash with a time of 59.87 seconds at the Youngst

Melina Mangino, ’23, ready to compete at the YSU Icebreaker, hosted by Youngstown State University at the Watson and Tressel Training Site on Friday, Dec. 2.

own State University Icebreaker event on Friday, Dec. 2. It was the first competition of the season.

She used the offseason to her advantage. Toader trained over the summer with her friend, who runs track at Columbia University, and was coached by Tyler Chancellor, a member of the coaching staff at the University of Central Missouri.

Toader’s mindset is driven by her desire to make it to the national championship this year – though she also stated she loves the journey and process of improving her game. It is what keeps her motivated to practice, even when the season is six months away.

“Going into my senior year kept me motivated,” Toader said. “But I think what it really comes back to is the love of the sport. I think that is what takes care of the mental part.”

There have been a lot of victories to celebrate for Toader during her tenure at Allegheny College. She was the 2022 North Coast Athletic Conference 400m Outdoor Champion, and earned seven All-NCAC titles during her second and third year. However, for her, no victory was greater than the conference championship the Gators brought home in the outdoor 2020-2021 season.

Toader and the rest of the Gators unit are eager to chomp at another title, this time around in the Presidents Athletic Conference.

“I want us to do that again,” Toader said. “There’s nothing better than winning with the people you train with every single day.”

The team brought 14 participants to the YSU Icebreaker, competing across seven different events. There was no official team score, but the throwers and runners went above holding their own in the likes of lacing up against athletes from all divisional levels.

Another impressive Gator looking to leave her mark this season is Melina Mangino, ’23. Last week Mangino posted two indoor personal records in the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles. She found herself in familiar territory, after spending a large portion of her high school days training at the Watson and Tressel training site in Youngstown.

“Everyone was doing well across the board,” Mangino said. “We all had a really good day at YSU, and being able to run back there was fun.”

Mangino was thrilled to be back in the PAC this season, and also expressed her main goal was to bring home another title for the Gators. Growing up in New Castle, she has a lot of friends who compete for other schools across the conference. In addition, her brother runs track at Westminster College. Not having a rigorous travel schedule also means her parents can attend more of her events.

“I think my biggest goal is to create a family with my team and go on and take the trophy,” Mangino said.

Mangino’s bread and butter is the indoor season. She likes the controlled weather and consistency with the clock throughout each event. During the outdoor season, players’ times can be drastically impeded by the amount of wind at their back, or in their face. Depending on the severity, times may not even be counted in the official records.
Both Toader and Mangino look towards their next event, the Fighting Scots Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 21, in Wooster, Ohio. This ample time between competitions should allow them both to train hard and prepare to break more records.