The Youngstown State University men’s and women’s track teams are hopeful that this weekend will be a win-win situation.
Not only are the Penguins hoping to come away victorious from the Horizon League Indoor Championships, but they are also hoping to prove a worthy host.
The meet will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Watson and Tressel Training Site.
“We’re going all in,” said Brian Gorby, YSU’s head track and field coach. “‘Let it fly with the Y’ has been our motto.”
Both the men and women hope to improve from their 2012 finish.
The men finished third out of seven teams, while the women took second out of eight teams. The women also claimed first place at last year’s HL Outdoor Championships.
Improvements over the last two weeks have been noticeable, and multiple student-athletes have come close to their personal bests, Gorby said.
“Everybody takes it up a notch come championship time,” he said.
Gorby said he hopes that the women’s team can capitalize on the success of its outdoor season, adding that the men’s team is ready to take the next step: winning the tournament.
“The men are setting up to do big things,” he said. “Make the unbelievable believable.”
Four Penguins hope to repeat as champions: Michael Davis in the 60-meter, Ciara Jarrett in the 200-meter, Katrina Rettburg in the high jump and John Seaver in the shot put.
Rettburg, a junior, said she’s approaching the meet with a level head.
“I’m kind of nervous, even though I’m sitting at first on paper,” Rettburg said.
Last weekend, the Penguins participated in the Zips Invitational at the University of Akron. Three Penguins came away on top: Dorian Davis in the triple jump, Jarrett in the 60-meter and 200-meter, and Kodie Fennell in the 800-meter.
Davis said he’s feeling confident as he heads into the weekend.
“[I’m] going in with a game plan, and if I execute, then my goals will be achieved,” he said.
Davis placed second in the long jump last year and had to sit out in the triple jump.
This weekend, he has different plans.
“I want to be able to compete in both events and improve and place in the top-five in the 60-meter dash,” Davis said.
Rettburg also has personal goals.
“I want 5’10” — but I’ll take 5’7” or 5’8” [because] I want to break the Horizon League indoor record,” she said, referring to the high jump.
Davis and Rettburg also explained what winning the HL title would mean for both teams.
“We are definitely underdogs. It’s like David and Goliath, and we’re David,” Davis said. “It would be shocking, like when Butler [University] made it to the [basketball] national championship game.”
Since joining the HL in 2001, the men have won the indoor championships just one time (2003), while the women have won it three times (2004, 2005 and 2008).
“It would be wonderful to win,” Rettburg said. “We would get a gold ring instead of a silver one.”