May 25, 2022
Submitted photo / Jose Juarez / Oakland University Athletics YSU junior Kyndia Matlock, left, crosses the finish line alongside teammate Sue Henderson during her 100 meter dash win earlier in the month at Oakland. The East High alum is one of 13 Penguins to represent YSU at the regional level this week.
YOUNGSTOWN — To say it’s been a wild few weeks of emotions might be understating it in many regards.
Kyndia Matlock had her doubts on whether she’d qualify for regionals, but as she sat in the hospital room while her brother was recovering from surgery, her cell phone rang.
“My (sprints) coach (David Townsend) called me, he said “Are you ready to run in Indiana?“, and I was just happy because it was good news to hear, after being in the hospital with my brother,” Matlock said. “All season I just had to keep my head down. I wasn’t really hitting the times I wanted to, conference came and I sort of had a breakthrough, so it was a relief. To be able to make it this far, it feels good.”
Matlock’s time of 11.46 seconds during the prelims at the Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships was speedy enough to make the cut of 48 for the women’s 100-meter dash, all while representing YSU with a school record 13 athletes qualifying for regionals between the men’s and women’s squads.
She’ll compete on Thursday in the first heat at 7:00 p.m. at Indiana University. Joining her in the field is fellow local standout Chante Clinkscale (Niles McKinley) from the University of Dayton, who’ll race in the sixth and final heat.
Flooded with the emotions and realization that the conference meet at Oakland would be the final time she’d compete with teammate and best friend Suerethia Henderson, Matlock didn’t allow the moment to overcome her. Finding her inner self was key to finding that little boost in quickness.
“I just had to go into prayer and that made me at peace. When I got to the track meet, I was just at peace and able to perform,” Matlock explained. “At the starting line I was so at peace and calm, I didn’t even think that I was going to run fast, I had to ask myself, like are you going to move?
“After I crossed the finish line, I seen it. If you watch the video I had no emotion, but in my head I was really praising god that it happened.”
A graduate of East High School, Matlock’s parents or older brothers weren’t track athletes, but she credits some of her speed to her grandmother Autto Redd who ran hurdles for Warren Western Reserve.
For Matlock, making regionals isn’t just about representing YSU. It’s about community and local pride, wanting to give some of the younger people in the area a role model.
“That’s so important, especially with what’s going on in Youngstown right now,” Matlock explained. “My life can be an example of, I can do something other than what I see, then 100 percent, I’m going to keep at it.
“That’s honestly what keeps me going, to know that there’s people looking up to me in Youngstown or wherever, then hopefully I’m their hope and inspiration to keep going too.”
Columbiana County will also have a delegate from Youngstown State in Bloomington this week, with Crestview alum Dominic Perry set to compete in the shot put this evening. His throw of 17.77 meters (58.3 feet) at Bucknell University in mid-April allowed the Penguins junior to qualify.
“It’s just a combination with the weight room, and technique wise, it’s just a lot of reps doing one thing just a lot of times the same way and making sure you’re doing it the right way,” Perry said. “Both of my parents did it in high school, I just went out for it in seventh grade and started trying it out, getting lessons for it, now I’m here.”
His parents of Dom and Denise threw some years ago for Poland, giving Perry a legacy to live up to, add on the fact that his younger sister, Krista is also a thrower for the Penguins, then there’s a lot of field event talent coming out of the Perry household.
“It’s great, sometimes my parents, they love to chime in about coaching and what I should be doing, so they’re big supporters, I’m thankful for that,” Perry said with a laugh. “Every track meet at home, you see so many people you know, it’s a great confidence booster to know you have so much support from the area like that.”
Perry is no stranger to the big stage, winning twice at state for the Rebels during his high school career, but tonight will represent an even bigger leap.
The key is just to treat it like it’s any other meet.
“It’s the best people from around the country, not just your state, that’s the only thing that’s different,” Perry explained. “As far as execution standpoint, with throwing, it’s all the same thing, just go in and have fun and throw.”
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