SALEM - The Salem Quakers track and field team has traditionally been known for its strong relay squads.
You could call them "Quaker quick."
Senior Zack Penick knows all about it. Penick was part of the 4x200 state championship relay squad in 2009, and a state runner-up relay squad in the 4x200 and a third-place 4x100 squad in 2010.
This year Penick has a new set of teammates but the results are the same - another trip to Columbus.
Penick, alongside Austin Noel, Marcus Crittenden and Ryan Bush will make the trip to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to compete in the 4x400.
"We definitely want to get up on the podium," Penick said.
Penick and his teammates are making the most of the trip, especially in light of their misfortune at the Division II district meet where the 4x200 relay squad was disqualified for dropping the baton, and the 4x100 relay squad couldn't finish due to an unfortunate injury to Paul Matak.
"It made us more determined," Penick said of he and his teammates who hunkered down to make sure they would get out of both districts and regionals in the 4x400.
Penick also said the sense of cameraderie with his teammates has helped them along the way this season.
"We're closer than the guys I've run with before," Penick said. "I've just been around them longer. I think it helps with how we run."
The Quakers took third last week in Bedford at 3:22.41 - less than two seconds slower than first-place Poland who the Quakers were only three hundredths of a second behind at the district meet at Reilly Stadium.
Salem's regional time is within two seconds of every first-place finisher from Division II with the exception of Dayton Dunbar. But even then, they're just four seconds back and within striking distance.
Penick's message was simple for what the team is looking to do come Friday.
"Run fast," he said.
The Division II state competition begins Friday at 9 a.m.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org