Track goes outside to play

track 4-5

Junior Mike Davis takes the handoff in the 400-meter relay at the Horizon League Indoor Championships. Davis finished ninth in the 200-meter dash at this past weekend’s adidas Raleigh Relay. Photo by Dustin Livesay/Contributor. Raleigh Relays. Photo by Dustin Livesay/The Jambar.

The Penguins’ performance at the adidas Raleigh Relays this past weekend was one to remember.

“It is probably one of the best outdoor meets in the history of the program,” said Brian Gorby, Youngstown State University’s head track and field coach. “We never had people finish in the top five or six in the 100 and 200.”

Junior sprinters Mike Davis and Tarelle Irwin had standout days for the Penguins.

Irwin advanced to the final in the 100-meter dash, placing eighth with a time of 10.91 seconds. In the 200-meter, they finished in the top 10. Irwin ran a 21.94, good for eighth, and Davis was behind him in ninth, running a 22.04.

Irwin said running against competition from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Southeastern Conference gets the team ready to run.

“Me and Big Mike, we are back and forth with everything we do,” Irwin said. “I know we can compete at that level, despite injuries and whatnot. This is my first healthy season so far, so I know we can compete.”

Davis said it takes a few meets to transition to the outdoor season. The team finished its indoor season at the end of February.

“It was different,” Davis said. “Indoor, there is no wind, no weather. It was all right. I never run good at the beginning of the season.”

Irwin said he prefers the outdoor meets because that’s where he is more comfortable.

“The track is bigger,” Irwin said. “It is a place where we can showcase how good we are when we make that transition. Indoor, everything is a lot shorter, so once you go to outdoor, that is where everything happens.”

Not to be outdone, sophomore sprinter Ciara Jarrett matched Irwin’s eighth-place finish in the women’s 100, running 12.21 seconds.

She said she was happy with how the team performed, especially against the level of competition in the meet.

“As a team, we have a little bit to work on,” Jarrett said. “A lot of people progressed from the indoor season, so it was a good first meet. And with the competition we faced, it makes us stronger, and it makes us better.”

Also on the women’s side, junior Samantha Hamilton continued to run at a high level.

Hamilton finished the 5,000-meter run in 14th place with a time of 16 minutes, 34.44 seconds. Gorby said Hamilton still continues to impress.

“The apex of the meet was Samantha Hamilton running 16:34 in the 5K, and she was just phenomenal,” Gorby said. “To have her, when her best time last year was 17:50, and have her drop 1:20, that’s definitely what we were kind of excited about.”

Hamilton said she felt good in her first outdoor meet of the year.

“I kind of left off right where I ended with indoor, which is good,” Hamilton said. “On the distance side, we are well above where we should be right now. It was perfect weather for distance Friday night.”

The Penguins return to action on April 13 in the Northeast Ohio Quad in Akron.