For Youngstown State University’s track and field team, spring signifies the beginning of the end of the season. For Ciara Jarrett, it signifies a long wait until the new season.
Jarrett, a junior sprinter, has won multiple dash events for the Penguins and said she hopes to continue this success in her senior year.
“It’s something I really do have a passion for,” Jarrett said. “There have been a few ups and downs, but I just keep on going.”
Sprinting has always been a hobby of Jarrett’s, even before her high school and college years.
“At a young age — around elementary school — is when I got into sprinting,” Jarrett said. “I got a recommendation from my gym teacher for high school.”
Jarrett said her sophomore year of high school in Milwaukee “wasn’t a big success,” but added that her junior and senior years were much better.
Brian Gorby, head track and field coach at YSU, said he was easily impressed with Jarrett’s talents.
“She was a top two or three out of Wisconsin,” he said.
However, Gorby said the drive out to Wisconsin to scout Jarrett was quite the event.
“We drove 12 hours out there and even got a speeding ticket on the way,” Gorby said. “Overall, it was about a 24-hour trip to talk to her.”
For Jarrett, coming to YSU was a last-minute decision, but one that she’s been happy with.
Gorby has noticed Jarrett’s work in the past few years, noting that her contributions are “great.”
“Basically, how she adapts to things from so far away has been impressive,” he said.
Even though she was in a new environment, Ohio didn’t faze Jarrett.
David Townsend, assistant track coach at YSU, said Jarrett is a “pretty hard worker.”
“She’s very serious about what she does on and off the track,” he said. “She was in the top six in her stadium in Milwaukee. She’s one of the best sprinters in the conference.”
In the current season, Jarrett won a 200-meter dash in February and placed in the top four at a 100 in Raleigh, N.C., in late March.
“She’s grown as a person,” Gorby said. “I’m impressed with her as a college student and athlete, being able to balance it all.”
Gorby said Jarrett carries herself well.
“She’s athletically strong and has a great attitude,” Gorby said. “She had to grow, and she did.”
Gorby said Jarrett has the potential to go above and beyond.
“If she makes the top 48 for state, it’ll be huge,” Gorby said. “She’ll get into shoe contracts with Nike, but we’ll see how she does.”
Townsend said Jarrett’s “great” speed was one of the first things he picked up on when he scouted her.
“Ciara is one of the strongest girls on the team,” he said. “Her time in the weight room and her ability to get stronger and faster is great.”
Townsend said Jarrett’s experience with sprinting at a young age has helped her persevere throughout the years.
“She’s really easy to coach,” Townsend said. “In meets, she can basically run people down.”
Jarrett’s coaches, who said she’s “starting to set by example,” have also noticed her leadership.
“During the April 5 and 6 meet, she had a good weekend,” Townsend said. “Our goal for her is to go as high as possible as a sprinter. We’re going to try to take her there.”
Jarrett said she will continue to sprint on the track, and even professionally if possible.
“Track will depend on my senior year,” Jarrett said. “I may keep going, or I just may stick to my major of social work.”