Ferry track duo signs with Jesuit

The Martins Ferry girls track team has been on quite the roll the last couple of seasons.

Two members of head coach Rich Materkoski’s squad have decided to continue their careers at the next level.

Talyr Jenkins and Rikki Allen both signed National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at Wheeling Jesuit University.

JENKINS has been one of the area’s top sprinters since she arrived in high school. She qualified to the state meet in Division II 200 meter dash as a freshman and basically hasn’t slowed down since.

The diminutive speedster has been an OVAC placer in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes. She’s also been a key contributor on Lady Rider relay teams.

With all of the success, Jenkins’ career has basically been a blur.

“I don’t even believe that it’s my last (high school) season yet,” Jenkins said. “I am excited to get started and see what we can do.”

Last season, Jenkins experienced her first time on the state meet podium. She anchored the Lady Riders’ 4×200 team to a seventh-place finish in Division III. That came after the squad snuck into the finals as the ninth qualifier.

“Coming into my freshman season, I never dreamed that I’d be at the state meet,” Jenkins admitted. “And then to place (in a relay), it’s just been an exciting time.”

Jenkins has also been a member of the Ferry indoor track team and will compete at the New Balance Indoor Nationals next month in New York City. From there, it’s right into the outdoor campaign.

“I am hoping that we can do well at the OVAC and then go to the regional and get more individuals to the state meet,” Jenkins said. “I just have to continue to push myself and work hard.”

As for what lies ahead when she joins the Lady Cardinals’ program, Jenkins is unsure, but she’s open to just about anything.

Talyr plans on studying biology with the hopes of one day becoming a veterinarian.

ALLEN’S high-school career hasn’t been exactly what she envisioned because she’s battled injuries.

However, the Cardinals’ coaching staff looked at her upside in the pole vault and is now welcoming her to the program.

“I really liked the coach (Ricky Moore) and all of the people there,” Allen said of her decision to join the Jesuit program. “I think it’ll be exciting to be a part of the team.”

When Allen decided to join the Lady Riders’ program, she didn’t exactly know what event would suit her best. As a sophomore, she started vaulting.

“My career really kicked in when I picked up pole vault,” Allen confessed. “I decided to give it a try, so the coaches told me what to do and I just kind of picked it up. I decided to stick with it. It’s a really fun event.”

Allen basically missed all of the 2013 season due to an injury.

“I tried at a couple of meets and it didn’t go so well, so I was out pretty much the entire outdoor season,” Allen said.

Allen, who said she’s now 100 percent, is using her lack of a junior season as motivation for the upcoming campaign.

“I am 10 times more anxious to get started,” Allen said. “I am just working as hard as I can and Coach (Paul) Matuska is giving me new workouts, so I am expecting to be ready for the season.”

As for goals, Allen is interested in heights more than places.

“The way I look at it is if you’re going up in height, you’re placing well anyway,” Allen pointed out. “If I am attempting and clearing higher heights, then I’ll be satisfied.”

Allen plans on entering the pre-dental program.