Track and field season off to a running start

Tarelle Irwin

YSU senior sprinter Tarelle Irwin competes in an event last season. Photo courtesy of YSU Sports Information.

Brian Gorby, head coach of the track and field teams at Youngstown State University, said he’s pleased with his student-athletes’ performance in the spring opener, the Great Dane Classic at the Armory Track in New York City.

“It was probably the best opening meet in the program’s history,” Gorby said. The men’s team placed 10th out of 24 teams, gaining 20 points from 12 competitors. The women placed 12th out of 21 teams, racking up 20 points from 18 competitors.

“The staff and everyone were excited to see them to see them open up like that,” Gorby said. “They exceeded all expectations.”

Gorby said he expects both the men and the women to reach the top of the Horizon League this season.

“The women are very deep and have a good chance of making a run at the title,” he said.

The women, who are the reigning champs of the HL women’s outdoor track and field championships, are hoping for that success to carry over into the indoor season.

Junior sprinter Ciara Jarrett said she has high aspirations. She wants to win her title in the 200-meter and the 60-meter, and she also wants to do well in the 4×4.

Gorby said YSU’s program is well rounded, from the coaches to the athletes.

“It’s a very exciting time to be at YSU,” Gorby said. “Out of a 70-kid team, 40 of them are elite.”

Senior sprinter Tarelle Irwin said he has high expectations for himself, as well as for fellow senior sprinter Michael Davis.

“Being that I’m a senior now, the spotlight is on us, and expectations are high,” Irwin said. “As long as we finish one and two in conference, I’ll be happy.”

Gorby said he’s looking forward to the YSU Invitational, which will be held on Friday, and the YSU National Invitational, which will take place on Feb. 1 and 2.

Both will be held at the Watson and Tressel Training Site.

“It’s one of three major meets running that day, along with the New Balance Games in New York City and the Notre Dame Invitational,” Gorby said. “We’re expecting about 14 teams to show up.”

Gorby said the opportunity to host meets is a “dream,” but he also expressed the amount of work that goes into doing so.

“Being able to sleep in your own bed and have your own family and friends cheer you on helps you break down barriers that could be otherwise unimaginable,” he said. “At the same time, there’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice with hosting an event, like putting stuff up and tearing stuff down.”

Jarrett was optimistic when asked about how hosting an event affects participating student-athletes.

“Everybody from school is able to come out and watch us run, and there’s a lot fans, but the worst part of hosting is definitely tearing everything down afterward,” Jarrett said.

Irwin said running at a home meet has its benefits.

“You’re not as nervous. It’s all repetition. You practice here every day, and you know how the track works,” Irwin said.

Both Irwin and Jarrett said they’re grateful for the WATTS.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Irwin said. “To have a facility like this really allows us to excel.”