YOUNGSTOWN — To say that it’s been a crazy emotional few weeks might be an understatement in many ways.
Kyndia Matlock had doubts about qualifying for regionals, but as she sat in the hospital room while her brother recovered from surgery, her mobile phone rang.
“My (sprints) coach (David Townsend) called me, he said ‘Are you ready to race 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 getting the moments I wanted, the conference came and I kind of had a breakthrough, so it was a relief. Being able to go this far feels good.”
Matlock’s time of 11.46 seconds in the Horizon League Outdoor Track and Field Championships prelims was fast enough to make the cut of 48 for the women’s 100 meters, while representing YSU with a school-best 13 athletes qualifying for regionals between the men’s and women’s teams.
She will compete Thursday in the first round at 7:00 p.m. at Indiana University. She’s joined on the field by fellow local Chante Clinkscale (Niles McKinley) of the University of Dayton, who will compete in the sixth and final round.
Flooded with emotion and realizing that the conference meet in Oakland would be the last time she would compete against teammate and best friend Suerethia Henderson, Matlock didn’t let the moment defeat her. Finding your inner self was the key to finding that little boost in speed.
“I just had to enter into prayer and it made me at peace. When I arrived at the track meet, I was just at peace and able to perform,” Matlock explained. “At the start line, I was so peaceful and calm, I didn’t even think I was going to run fast, I had to wonder, like are you going to move?
“After crossing the finish line, I saw 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 attributes some of her speed to her grandmother Autotto Redd who ran hurdles for Warren Western Reserve.
For Matlock, doing regionals isn’t just about representing YSU. It’s about community and local pride, about wanting to give some of the young people in the area a role model.
“It’s so important, especially with what’s going on in Youngstown right now,” Matlock explained. “My life can be an example, I can do something other than what I see, so 100% I will continue.
“That’s honestly what keeps me going, knowing that there are people watching me in Youngstown or wherever, so hopefully I’m their hope and their 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 tonight. His throw of 17.77 meters (58.3 feet) at Bucknell University in mid-April helped the junior Penguins qualify.
“It’s just a combination with the weight room, and in terms of technique, it’s just a lot of reps doing one thing multiple times the same way and making sure you’re doing it the right way.” said Perry. “Both my parents did it in high school, I just came out for it in seventh grade and started trying it, taking classes for it, now I’m here.”
His parents of Dom and Denise pitched a few years ago for Poland, giving Perry a legacy to respect, in addition to the fact that his younger sister, Krista is also a pitcher for the Penguins, then there’s a lot of talent on the land coming out of the Perry house.
“It’s great, sometimes my parents, they love to talk about training and what I should be doing, so they’re great supporters, I’m grateful for that,” laughed Perry. “Every home athletics meet, you see so many people you know, it’s a big confidence boost to know you have so much support from the region like that.”
Perry is no stranger to the big stage, winning statehood for the Rebels twice during his high school career, but tonight will represent an even bigger leap.
The key is simply to treat it as if it were any other encounter.
“They’re the best people in the whole country, not just your state, that’s the only thing that’s different,” Perry explained. “When it comes to execution, with throwing it’s the same, just go in and have fun and throw.”