Beat the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Youngstown State University track team will beat everyone else.
That is what junior sprinter Mike Davis said of the upcoming Horizon League Championships, which start Friday in Wisconsin.
Brian Gorby, head track and field coach at YSU, said he is excited for his team’s prospects.
“Projectionwise, we can probably score anywhere in the range of 160 to 190, which is good,” Gorby said. “Milwaukee, which is always kind of a team we are always competing against, is between 140 and 170. So, overall, even on paper, if you can have a lead, the kids have done a good job.”
Senior thrower Kaitlyn Griffith said that to go out with an HL title would be a great end to her career.
“The last time we won here was my freshman year,” Griffith said. “For me to cap it off, it has been hard to keep getting runner up every year since I was a freshman, and I want to go out being on top.”
Griffith won the indoor shot put and hammer titles during the HL Championships. Junior Bobby Grace, a fellow thrower, said as long as the team works hard, it should be able to accomplish big things.
“Just kind of work hard, come in the best as we can,” Grace said. “From the throws side, just keep improving. We are usually a pretty big part of the team come conference time, so we just want to rally the troops and get a ring.”
Sophomore Katrina Rettburg said she feels the team has a great chance to come away with the title. In her event, high jump, she is battling with a fellow teammate for the top spot.
“Makayla [Martin], who is a freshman, just tied me at 5 feet 7 inches, so it is me and her at the same height,” Rettburg said. “We are all just improving. We all saw where our weaknesses were in the indoor season.”
Gorby said the team must continue to build on what it has accomplished.
“We have had a great outdoor season,” Gorby said. “On paper, we are projected well, and we are happy to have that, but, again, it is only on paper. We are going to try and minimize any mental errors, don’t make any mental mistakes and continue to peak as we all focus on this.”
Sophomore sprinter Ciara Jarrett said she expects the women’s 4X100 relay team to take the title. In the 100-meter dash, she expects a tougher challenge: senior Cassandra Lloyd from Wright State University.
“She is real good, [and] she is the champion in hurdles,” Jarrett said. “She was injured last year, and this year, she is really stepping up. She is my toughest competition.”
Lloyd was an All-American last spring for the Raiders. On March 30, she was clocked at 13.20 seconds, 28th in the world, in the 100-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays. Junior sprinter Tarelle Irwin said the team wants to bring back a ring.
“It’s the Horizon League, and we have been in this for while,” Irwin said. “We want to work as hard as we can and give our best efforts and come out with something special. It is not often a men’s side brings back something great to show the campus. We just want to work our hardest and prove ourselves.”
Gorby said he is confident his team will perform to his expectations.
“We will always be a better outdoor team,” Gorby said. “We have 17 events where we can score in, so we are definitely a well-rounded team. We have more depth and more quality. Milwaukee has 13 events they can score in. Overall, it gives us a confidence.”