Irwin Invitational set for Saturday
ELKINS – Nine schools will converge at the Elkins High School track on Saturday for the 13th annual Irwin Invitational.
Along with Elkins, teams competing include Tygarts Valley, Petersburg, Fairmont Senior, Grafton, Hampshire, North Marion, Trinity Christian and Charleston Catholic.
Field events will get underway at 9:30 a.m., followed by running events at 10 a.m.
Both Elkins squads are coming off strong performances in the season opener Saturday at Bridgeport.
The boys placed seventh behind a first-place showing from the 4×800 relay team comprised of Austin Hamrick, Matt Wallace, Remington Knight and Chris
“I wasn’t shocked by the relay team’s performance, but I was quite impressed,” Elkins boys coach Matt Lewis said. “That’s a talented crew, and we’ll certainly look to them for leadership.”
The Tigers will rely on their distance runners this season. Lewis expects another strong outing on Saturday from that group.
“I only allowed a few of our guys to compete in one open event last Saturday,” Lewis said. “But after seeing how incredible they performed, I think we’re ready to take the next step forward.”
Junior Daniel Crawford will make his season debut Saturday in the sprint events.
“I was quite pleased with the way our sprinters performed in their first-ever track meet,” Lewis said. “Now, with the addition of a veteran like Daniel being added to the mix, that only makes them and our team that much stronger.”
Michael Beckwith also hopes to build on Saturday’s strong effort in the field events. The senior was runner-up in the discus at the Bridgeport meet.
“Michael had an amazing opening meet last Saturday, and I know he’s eager to try and take top honors in both the discus and shot this weekend,” Lewis said.
Among the favorites in Saturday’s boys meet will be Hampshire, Fairmont Senior, Charleston Catholic and Elkins.
“We’ve got some extra guys in some events this weekend that I’m anxious to see,” Lewis said. “I’ll definitely know a lot more about our team after this weekend.
“The guys are hungry and we’re ready to fight to the finish.”
The EHS girls, coached by Scott Biola, turned in a fifth-place showing at Bridgeport behind solid outings from the relay teams.
Both the 4×100 and 4×200 teams finished runner-up in their respective events at Bridgeport.
Kathlyne Simmons and Olivia Underwood are projected to place in the long jump competition, while Jontasia Sitton is among the favorites in the shot put and discus.
Skylee Watson and Brook McCollam will lead the distance runners.
Hampshire and Charleston Catholic, along with Elkins, are teams to watch in the title chase.
The Irwin Invitational is named for the late Robert “Bob” Irwin, who served as a head coach in track, football, basketball and wrestling at Elkins High School during his career.
He was an all-conference and all-state performer during his playing days, and 11 of the track teams he coached at EHS were conference champions.