With all of the success that the sports programs at Northwestern Lehigh have had, there are not many firsts that can still be achieved. Another one came off the list this spring when Faith Yost became the first student-athlete in the 50-year history of the track and field program at Northwestern to capture a gold medal in track and field at states when she won the high jump event.
For Yost, it was just one of 32 medals she won at invitational events, Colonial League, District 11 and state competitions during her high school career. Like all spring season athletes, Yost accomplished her achievements in three seasons after missing her freshman season because of COVID shutdowns.
This past spring, Yost captured Colonial League gold in the high jump and long jump and finished with a silver medal in hurdles. In districts, she took silver in the long jump and bronze in both the high jump and hurdles. The top two finishers in each event lock up spots at states, but athletes can also qualify by hitting a qualifying standard, which is how Yost locked up the spot in the high jump that led to her bringing home gold.
For Yost, her interest in track really started when she was in middle school and got a taste of some of the events track and field would offer.
“When I was in seventh grade I went to a track and field clinic that coach Groller held, and I tried high jumping. Then on track and field day I jumped 5 feet, 1 inch and was encouraged,” said Yost, who credits Northwestern head coach Chuck Groller with getting her involved in hurdles. “He is the reason I even tried hurdles and wound up competing. At first, I didn’t want to do hurdles and wasn’t even interested in it, but he encouraged me and I’m glad that he did.”
At states, Yost cleared a height of 5-5 in the high jump for the gold medal. Yost may have been hesitant to get into hurdles, but she finished second in leagues and third in districts in the event.
For Yost, her senior season was her best, but it came without any noticeable change in her offseason regimen. The only change she made coming into the 2023 track and field season was in her attitude.
“I think the main reason why I had a better season was that I knew it was my senior year and I just wanted to have fun and kind of soak it all in, so I came in with a different approach and that took a lot of the stress off of me,” said Yost, adding that she reached her goal of having fun for her senior season, thanks in part to her teammates. “They are kind of a family that I created and the whole atmosphere and the community was great.
“I really looked forward to going to practice and it wasn’t like I didn’t care how I did or how the team did, it was just that I didn’t stress over everything, and I really got to enjoy each moment.”
When she won gold at states, it appeared that final trip to Shippensburg University would be her last hurrah in track and field. The plan was to attend Villanova University and major in biology and simply focus on academics. Then, plans changed.
“I actually wasn’t going to compete, but I got in touch with the coach, and he told me they would like to have me on the team,” said Yost. “I am going to try it out and see how it goes and at least give it a semester. After that, I’ll have to decide from there, but I am going to give it a shot.”
If Yost approaches her college career like she did her senior season and uses it as a means of having fun and looking to create another pseudo family, odds are she will not only stick with it but will wind up having a lot of fun.