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Irwin, Green state track and field champs

| Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The track and field seasons of Tarelle Irwin and Matt Green have been different, yet similar.

The differences are that Irwin is a senior from Monessen and Green is a sophomore from Belle Vernon Area.

The similarities include being among the premier track and field athletes at what they do. Irwin won the WPIAL title in the 100 and 200 meters while Green was the champion in the long jump.

They now have one other similarity -- state champion.

Irwin capped off an amazing career for Monessen by winning the 200 meters AA title by a wide margin Saturday at the PIAA Track and Field Championships at Shippensburg University.

Meanwhile, Green's career is just taking off as he won the state AAA crown in the long jump with his best mark ever of 23 feet, 7.5 inches.

Both athletes are the first state champions in track and field from their respective schools.

"It feels great," smiled Green. "It was my best jump ever, but I was a little nervous after I fouled on the first jump. But it still feels good."

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," gushed Irwin. "I haven't been bragging on it, but my mom has. She's been taking the glory for me, but I'm loving it though."

Irwin ran a 22.25 in the 200 to blow away the field.

"He beat the next guy by about 10 yards," said his proud coach, Ramont Small. "It was a really impressive performance."

The runner-up, Oren Buie of Bethlehem Catholic, was more than three-tenths of a second behind.

Irwin just missed out on earning two gold medals at Shippensburg as he finished third in the 100 meters with a time of 10.89.

"He finished third, but it was close," said Small.

Chris Houston of Bishop McDevitt won the 100 with a time of 10.78.

"I'm so excited for him. He worked really hard and showed the rest of the kids what hard work and desire will do for you," Small said. "He busted his butt all year and it paid off for him.

"I'm so proud of him and I'm definitely going to miss him."

Irwin finished third in the 200 and ninth in the 100 at Shippensburg as a junior.

Irwin says he expects to make a decision on which college he will attend soon. Three of the finalists include Youngstown State, Pitt and Temple.

Green, meanwhile, has been adding length to his jumps at a steady pace.

"The last couple of weeks he has been consistently over 23 feet," said his coach, Chris Stasicha. "That's a great sign for a sophomore.

"I am so proud of him. I'm really excited for him because he deserves this."

On Saturday, he beat his nearest competitor, Sanders Shannon of Erie Cathedral Prep, by 1.75 inches.

Green says he will be jumping at least 24 feet, 6 inches by the end of his junior season and he hopes to break the state mark of 25 feet, 4 inches by the time he is a senior.

"If I keep working hard, I think I can do it," he said.

"This is such a great thing for him and our school," said Stasicha. "It's our first-ever state champ. It's a great accomplishment for anyone, let alone a sophomore."

Green said he is looking forward to relaxing for a while now.

"It's been a long season and a lot of hard work," he said. "I'm looking forward to a break."

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