By Jon Moffett
Brian Gorby is generally a soft-spoken man who doesn’t command a lot of attention.
But then again, his Youngstown State track program generally doesn’t take down the big dogs in their own place.
So when his program has arguably the biggest win in its history, he wants to make a little noise.
The Penguins are coming off an impressive performance in the Northeast Ohio Quad Meet at Akron University last weekend, which also features Division I powerhouse Kent State and Division II Ashland. The women’s team defeated all three schools head-to-head, and the men toppled Kent State.
Gorby, who coaches both squads, said the feat is a huge accomplishment.
“Any time you go up against Kent and Akron, you’ve got teams that have basically won the past 10 MAC championships,” he said. “So to do so well against those programs was probably the biggest out-of-conference win in the history of the program.”
Big words. But also a big deal.
The Penguins won eight combined individual events and two relays. The men captured four individual titles and the women an additional four individual events and added to relay titles.
“Those results show a team effort and showing everybody coming together in this program,” Gorby said.
Earning gold for the men were Darius Reeves (triple jump), Adam Kagarise (400), Tarelle Irwin (100) and Michael Davis won the (200). Capturing individual crowns for the women were Laura Kosiorek (triple jump), Kendall Homan (100 hurdles), Nicole Pachol (300 hurdles) and Ciara Jarrett (200). The women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays also snagged first-place finishes.
Pachol, a Howland High graduate, manned the 4x400 team along with Taylor Entzi, Ciara Jarrett and Alteeka Vanwright of East. The 4x100 team included Jarrett, Alisha Anthony, Symona Gregory and Kenya Garner.
Gorby said he was most proud of how the team won.
While the other schools have multimillion-dollar indoor facilities, Gorby and the Penguins don’t even have a track. Their outdoor track was sacrificed two years ago when construction on the Watson and Tressel Training Site began. And until the complex is finished — it’s been delayed several times — the Penguins are kind of nomadic.
But Gorby says the Penguins are right at home no matter where they practice.
“We’ve always felt that people are the key to championships,” he said. Buildings are great. But people make the programs.”
And those programs are looking up. The WATTS, he hopes, will attract some of the prospects who would have chosen Kent State or Akron because of their facilities.
“I’m pretty sure [the other schools] are staring to see us as competition,” he said. “There are a lot of kids who other schools thought they were going to get just because they had an indoor facility and we didn’t. Well, the playing field has been leveled a little bit.”
Gorby thinks the recent success is just the beginning.
“This weekend was pretty sweet,” he said. “This is an exciting time to be at YSU. The past has been great, but the future is so, so bright.”
The recognition is coming, too. Sophomore runner Kaitlyn Griffith was named the Horizon League field athlete of the week .